Infobox Football club
clubname = Watford
fullname = Watford Football Club
nickname = The Hornets, The Golden Boys, Yellow Army
founded = 1881
Vicarage Road Watford England
capacity = 19,920 (expanding to 23,500)
chairman = flagicon|England Graham Simpson
manager = flagicon|England
league = Championship
season = 2007–08
position = Championship, 6th
The club was founded in 1881, first playing at Cassio Road ground, before moving to
Vicarage Roadin 1922, where they remain to this day. [http://www.watfordfc.premiumtv.co.uk/page/History/0,,10400~65929,00.html History of Watford FC - Grounds] watfordfc.com] Since 1997 they have shared the ground with Saracens Rugby Club. The club has the nickame of "The Hornets" due to its yellow and black strip. Watford have a long-standing rivalry with nearby Luton Town.
The club is best known for its two spells under the management of former England manager Graham Taylor. The first lasting from 1977 to 1987, when the club rose to the old Division One from Division Four, also reaching the
FA Cupfinal in 1984 [http://www.thefa.com/TheFACup/TheFACup/History/Postings/2003/11/44455.htm Classic Cup Finals: 1984] The FA] and competing in the UEFA Cup. The second lasting from 1997 to 2001, when Taylor took the club from Division Two to the Premiership in successive seasons. During both of these eras the club was owned by Elton John, who is now the club's honorary life president [http://www.watfordfc.premiumtv.co.uk/page/History/0,,10400~65917,00.html History of Watford FC - Notable people] watfordfc.com] .
The Graham Taylor era (1977–1987)
When 32-year-old Graham Taylor was named as Watford's new manager at the start of the 1976-77 season, the club had just been purchased by world famous pop star
Elton John(a lifelong fan of the club) and were an unremarkable Fourth Division side [http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/a/aston_villa/1801976.stm Graham Taylor profile] BBC] . But thanks to the efforts of chairman, manager and playing staff, Watford had reached the First Division by the start of the 1982–83 season [http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/a/aston_villa/1801976.stm Graham Taylor profile] BBC] . Players like John Barnes, Ross Jenkinsand Luther Blissett were some of the most respected players in the English game during the 1980s. Watford finished their first top flight season as runners-up behind champions Liverpool. The club competed in the UEFA cup the following season and an FA Cup final appearance followed in 1984, although Watford lost to Everton [http://www.thefa.com/TheFACup/TheFACup/History/Postings/2003/11/44455.htm Classic Cup Finals: 1984] The FA] . After guiding Watford to a ninth-place finish in 1986-87, Taylor was lured away to Aston Villa [http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/a/aston_villa/1801976.stm Graham Taylor profile] BBC] .
Life after Graham Taylor: Outside the top division (1987–1998)
After Graham Taylor left,
Dave Bassettwas placed in charge. The Hornets suffered a terrible start to the 1987-88 season, and Dave Bassett was let go after a short stint of only eight months. Watford were relegated from the First Division at the end of that season. The next season, 1988-89, Watford failed to return to the First Division after they lost Second Division playoffs. Over the next few seasons, Watford never seriously challenged for promotion. Their highest finish was a Craig Ramage-inspired seventh in Division One at the end of the 1994-95 season, but they were relegated the following year.
The return of Graham Taylor (1998–2001)
Graham Taylor returned to Watford as Director of Football in February 1996 [http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/a/aston_villa/1801976.stm Graham Taylor profile] BBC] , with former player Kenny Jackett as head coach, but was unable to stop the club from sliding into Division Two. After a mid-table finish in Division Two at the end of 1996-97, Jackett was demoted to the position of assistant manager and Taylor returned his old role as manager. The transition proved a success and Watford secured the Division Two championship in 1997-98, beating Bristol City into second place after a season-long struggle. A second successive promotion followed in 1998-99, thanks to a playoff final victory over Bolton which secured the club's promotion to the Premiership.
The Premiership season started brightly with an early surprising victory over Liverpool, but soon faded away, and Watford were relegated after finishing bottom. Graham Taylor retired at the end of the 2000-01 season (although just months later he returned to football management at Aston Villa) [http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/a/aston_villa/1801976.stm Graham Taylor profile] BBC] , and was replaced in a surprise move by
Gianluca Vialli[ [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/main.jhtml?xml=/sport/2001/05/01/sfnwat02.xml Vialli unveiled as new Watford manager] Telegraph] , who had recently been sacked by Chelsea F.C.[ [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/main.jhtml?xml=/sport/2000/09/13/sfnche13.xml Vialli sacked by Chelsea] Telegraph] .
Watford under Vialli (2001–2002)
Vialli's time at the club was short and unhappy. In an unpopular move he replaced long-time backroom staff such as
Kenny Jackettand Luther Blissett, replacing them with ex-Chelsea staff he had brought with him. Vialli made several high-profile signings, and wage bills at the club soared, with Vialli himself earning almost a million pounds a year. However, the season was mediocre, with the club finishing a lowly 14th in the division, and Vialli was sacked after only one season, having refused to resign [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/w/watford/2045074.stm Vialli sacked] BBC] . He was replaced by Ray Lewington, who had come to the club the previous summer as Vialli's reserve team manager.
Ray Lewington (2002–2005)
Lewington took charge of Watford for the 2002-03 season. Over the summer many of the Vialli's signings left the club. Lewington had few funds to strengthen the side and was only able to bring in two players, the experienced Neal Ardley and Sean Dyche. The extent of Watford's financial difficulties was exposed in the autumn, along with many League clubs, following the collapse of
ITV Digital[ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/w/watford/2278920.stm Watford in financial peril] BBC] . The club was facing administration when the players and staff agreed a 12% wage deferral [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/w/watford/2281913.stm Watford players agree pay cut] BBC] . Exacerbating the club's difficulties were the large payoffs they had had to make to Vialli and several players on terminating their contracts, and Vialli's decision to sue the club early in 2003 [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/w/watford/2737337.stm Vialli sues Watford] BBC] . The club started the season well, however, despite the players having to agree to a pay-cut during October, and finished in mid-table. An unexpected run to the FA Cupsemi-final, where Watford lost to Premiership Southampton [ [http://www.bbc.co.uk/threecounties/sport/2003/04/13/watford_southampton.shtml Watford 1-2 Southampton] BBC 3CR] , also generated vital cash [http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/w/watford/2847751.stm Hornets eye stadium repurchase] BBC] .
The ongoing financial difficulties saw a large number of players released that summer, including record signing Allan Nielsen and strikers Tommy Smith and
Gifton Noel-Williams. There was a degree of hope around the new strike-force. Danny Webber- who had previously impressed on loan - was signed in a deal financed by several directors, along with Manchester United youngster Jimmy Davis, on loan for the season, and former star Bruce Dyer.
Tragically, however, Davis was killed in a car-crash on the opening day of the campaign. This had a huge effect on the team's form at the beginning of the season, and notably on Webber, who was one of his closest friends. Hovering above the relegation zone, the team struggled on through the winter. Terrace hero Paul Robinson was sold for the relatively small sum of £250,000, after a bid from West Brom. Non-league signing Scott Fitzgerald scoring many of the team's goals in a make-shift attack, with Gavin Mahon, who had a poor 2002-03, made a significant contribution in the centre of midfield. A strong finish to the season, led by winger Lee Cook, saw the club finish in mid-table.
The 2004-05 season saw a continuation of the good form of the end of the previous season, with the club well in the upper half of the Championship at the end of September. However, a long run of poor form subsequently saw the club drop steadily towards the relegation zone. Another good cup run further eased the club's financial position, with the team reaching the semi-final of the League Cup, soundly beating Premiership sides Portsmouth and Southampton on the way, before losing narrowly to Liverpool. The club's poor league form, however, came to a head in March, with a run of terrible performances and Lewington was sacked on the 22nd. His sacking was controversial, and many fans were unhappy at the loss of a man who had led the club to two cup semi finals in three seasons, enduring considerable financial hardships..
Aidy Boothroyd (2005–present)
At the age of 34,
Aidy Boothroydwas appointed manager of Watford after serving at Leeds United as a coach; 70-year-old Keith Burkinshawwas recruited as his assistant. Boothroyd's inexperience raised concerns among fans, who worried that he would not be able to keep the side in the Championship. However, Watford secured enough points to ensure survival with two games to go in the season.
Fan dissent continued throughout the summer of 2005, and increased due to the sacking of Nigel Gibbs as coach after more than twenty years of service and the departure of a large number of fan favourite players. Among those to go were star striker
Heiðar Helgusonand Danny Webberleaving the club with only one recognised striker.
In a flurry of late-August activity in 2005, Boothroyd signed strikers
Darius Hendersonand Marlon King(initially on a season-long loan), central defenders Clarke Carlisleand Malky Mackay, midfielder Matthew Springand goalkeeper Ben Foster (also on a season-long loan), assuaging many fans' doubts about the depth of the squad. Carlisle and Spring had both worked with Boothroyd at Leeds United the previous season.
Although Watford lost the opening match of the season 2-1 at home to Preston North End, Boothroyd's first full season at the club subsequently saw strong performances from the team to take them into the top half of the Championship, with the side consistently maintaining a third place position. A strong run of form in early 2006, including an impressive 4-1 win at second-placed Sheffield United saw Watford threatening to take second place and an automatic promotion spot. A subsequent down-turn in form rendered this impossible, but a draw at home against Luton Town on
9 Aprilsecured Watford a play-off spot.
Following a 3-0 away victory at Crystal Palace and a subsequent 0-0 draw at Vicarage Road in the semi-finals Watford reached the playoff final at the
Millennium Stadiumin Cardiff. Watford then beat Leeds 3-0 in the final to gain promotion to the Premier League and an estimated £41m as a result (all 13,000 available season tickets were quickly sold out).
This money was spent on several players in the 2006 pre-season, including three players who represent their country at the international level; central midfielder
Damien Francis, centre-back Danny Shittuand Hungarian striker Tamás Priskinand securing the re-signing of Ben Foster (on another season-long loan) and Tommy Smith.
The Hornets secured their first Premiership point of the season with a draw against West Ham in their second game of the season. However, they had to wait until
4 November 2006to record their first league win of the season, against Middlesbrough.
The January transfer window was busy, with the sale of
Ashley Youngto Aston Villa for a fee rising to £9.65 million - a record transfer fee for the club [http://www.watfordfc.premiumtv.co.uk/page/History/0,,10400~65910,00.html History of Watford FC - Club Records] watfordfc.com] [http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/a/aston_villa/6277389.stm Young completes £9.65m Villa move] BBC] . Watford also brought in 8 new signings.
Watford only recorded five wins in the Premiership, and sat at the bottom of the league table. However, they reached the semi-finals of the
FA Cup, where they lost to Manchester United [http://www.thefa.com/TheFACup/TheFACup/NewsAndFeatures/Postings/RooneyWatford1.htm FA Cup Semi Final: Watford vs Manchester Utd] The FA] . Despite drawing 1–1 draw with Manchester City, Watford were relegated on 21 April 2007. Nonetheless Boothroyd's contract was renewed until 2010. [ [http://www.premierleague.com/fapl.rac?command=setSelectedId&nextPage=enNewsLatest&id=1806519&type=com.fapl.website.news.NewsItem&categoryCode=NewsLatestFAPremierLeagueNews New contract for Boothroyd] Premier League Website] [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/w/watford/6636441.stm Boothroyd signs new Watford deal] BBC]
The team wasted no time in bringing in new players. As soon as the season finished, veteran centre back
Matt Jacksonjoined from Wigan after his contract expired [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/w/watford/6687429.stm Jackson leaves Wigan for Watford] BBC] and goalkeeper Mart Poomjoined from Arsenal for an undisclosed fee, [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/w/watford/6695577.stm Arsenal keeper Poom joins Hornets] BBC] Jobi McAnuffmoved from Crystal Palace for £1.75 million and in a new record signing Nathan Ellingtonmoved from West Brom for a fee of £3.25 million which may rise to £4.25 million [http://www.watfordfc.premiumtv.co.uk/page/History/0,,10400~65910,00.html History of Watford FC - Club Records] watfordfc.com] [http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/w/watford/6969399.stm Watford sign Ellington for £3.25m] BBC] . This move was partially funded by the £3 million departure of Hameur Bouazzato Fulham.
Watford made a good start to the 2007–08 season. With
Darius Hendersonand Marlon Kingscoring regularly, they built a lead at the top of the Championship. In November and December they had a poor run of form, particularly at home, which lead to their closest competitor, West Bromwich Albion, overtaking them in early January. Watford assured themseleves a play-off place on the final day of the season after a fortunate draw at Blackpool.
25 January 2008 Marlon Kingmade a surprise move to Wigan Athletic when he had been linked numerous times to Fulham. Reports claimed that King failed a medical at Fulham which prompted Wigan boss Steve Bruceto step in and sign the Jamaican international. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/w/wigan_athletic/7194713.stm Striker King makes Wigan switch] BBC] On the same day 22 year old Fulham striker Collins Johnmade a loan move to Watford which ended following an injury to the player. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/w/watford/7360642.stm] BBC] Watford also loaned in West Ham Uniteddefender Calum Davenport, who broke his neck during his first match for the club.
In the play-offs, Watford's wretched form continued with Hull City winning 2-0 at Vicarage Road and despite Watford taking the lead at the KC Stadium, Hull ran out 4-1 winners (6-1 on aggregate) to condemn Watford to another season in the Championship.
In the pre-season of 2008, Watford were rumoured to have financial problems, and sold a number of key players.
Jordan Stewartand record signing Nathan Ellingtonwere both sold to Derby County[ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/d/derby_county/7416191.stm Rams sign Ellington and Stewart] BBC ] and last season's top scorer Darius Hendersonwas signed by Sheffield United for £2 million. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/s/sheff_utd/7520565.stm Henderson makes switch to Blades] BBC ] Danny Shittuwas also sold to Premier LeagueBolton. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/b/bolton_wanderers/7545339.stm Shittu secures switch to Bolton] BBC ] However, Boothroyd did manage to sign Jon Harleyfrom Burnley and Grzegorz Rasiakon loan from Southampton. [ [http://www.watfordfc.premiumtv.co.uk/page/NewsDetail/0,,10400~1366537,00.html Rasiak signs for Watford] watfordfc.com]
Watford fans maintain a rivalry with those of Luton Town. The two sides met regularly in the Southern and Football Leagues from 1900 to 1937, but Luton's promotion meant that aside from a Southern Cup meeting the two sides did not meet again until 1964. Throughout the sixties and seventies the two sides met sporadically, and the rivalry gradually grew in significance, bringing with it trouble in the ground and outside of it.The two sides were promoted to the First Division in the 1981–82 season, with Luton taking the championship ahead of Watford. The two sides were also relegated together from the new Division 1 in 1995–96. Watford's promotion from Division 2 in 1997–98 meant that the two sides did not meet again in the League until the 2005–06 season, when Luton were promoted into the Championship. Clashes in the nineties had seen a decrease in violence, but a one-off League Cup tie in the 2002–03 season was marred by violence inside Vicarage Road. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/2249877.stm Joint probe launched into trouble] BBC] The clubs' first League meeting in eight years, on
2 January 2006, passed largely without incident with Watford winning 2–1 at Kenilworth Road. Later in the season, the sides met at Vicarage Road with the game ending in a 1–1 draw.
In all meetings between the two sides Luton have the superior record, with 56 wins and 183 goals to Watford's 37 and 156 respectively. Twenty-nine matches have been drawn.
:"As of 23 September 2008."cite web
title = Profiles
url = http://www.watfordfc.premiumtv.co.uk/page/ProfilesDetail/0,,10400,00.html
publisher = Watford FC
accessdate = 2007-08-15]
Out on loan
Aidy Boothroyd. Appointed in March 2005, Boothroyd was previously first-team coach at Leeds United.
*First Team Coach Martin Hunter.Joined in July 2007 from Norwich City. Previously spent thirteen years working for
the Football Association.
*Head of Academy: Mark Warburton Oversees the Watford Academy teams and manages the scouting operation for Watford's youth sides
*Conditioning Coach: Martyn PertMember of staff brought in by Boothroyd to work on the squad's physical fitness - formerly on the staff of the Miami Heat NBA team.
Alec ChamberlainGoalkeeping coach since Kevin Hitchcock's move to Blackburn Roversin 2004. Retired from playing at the end of the 2006–07 season to concentrate on his coaching role.
*Reserve team manager
Malky MackayRetired from playing at the end of the 2007–08 season. Also assists with the coaching of the first team.
Skilly Williams, 1913–1926A centre-forward before he came to Watford, Williams played as goalkeeper when he moved to the Cassio Road, making 341 appearances in 13 years at the club.
Taffy Davies, 1931–1950A two-footed forward, Davies is one of the few League players to spend 20 years at a single club.
Cliff Holton, 1958–1961, 1965–1966The most prolific striker Watford ever had. Signed in 1958, Holton's "golden year" was in Watford's 1959–60 Division Four promotion season, when he scored 48 goals in 52 appearances. In Division Three Holton averaged a goal every other game. He left the club in 1961, but returned for a period in the 1965–66 season.
Pat Jennings, 1963–1964One of the finest goalkeepers ever, Jennings started his career at Watford, making 52 appearances in his single season at the club.
Duncan Welbourne, 1963–1974An uncompromising right-back, Welbourne made 457 appearances for the club, including a record 280 in succession. He was ever-present in Watford's 1968–69 promotion season.
Stewart Scullion, 1966–1970, 1973–1976A talented winger, the 19 year old Scullion was brought to Watford as a make-weight in the deal that took Cliff Holton to Charlton. He was a key player in the 1968–69 promotion season, and scored the goal in Watford's 1-1 cup draw with the giants Manchester United at Old Trafford.
Tom Walley, 1966–1977A passionate midfielder, Walley was instrumental in the 1968–69 promotion season. Walley was a fixture in Watford's side for much of the seventies. After retirement he became a coach at the club and worked alongside Graham Taylor during his two successful spells at the club.
Andy Rankin, 1971–1979An extremely athletic goalkeeper, Rankin was Watford's keeper for most of the seventies. With 329 appearances, only Skilly Williams has made more appearances in goal for Watford.
*Ross Jenkins, 1972–1983Jenkins joined Watford in 1972, and formed a formidable partnership with Luther Blissett in Watford's ascent through the Divisions. He left Watford in 1983, with the club in the top flight. He had played for Watford when they were both top of the old first division (1st in the Football League) and bottom of the old Fourth Division (92nd in the Football League), making him the first, and so far only, player to do so. He scored 142 goals in 398 games.
Roger Joslyn, 1974–1980An aggressive and ball winning central midfielder, Joslyn was instrumental in Watford's successive promotions from 1977–1979.
*Luther Blissett, 1976–1983, 1984–1988, 1991–1992Making his debut in 1976, Blissett played for Watford throughout their ascent from Division Four to Division One. He was the first Watford player to be capped for England. He had three spells at Watford in total, and holds the club records for highest all-time goalscorer and most appearances. Blissett had a spell as coach at Watford from 1996–2001
Ian Bolton, 1977–1983Called the "best signing I ever made" by Graham Taylor, Bolton was another player who played for Watford throughout their Division Four to Division One ascent. Despite being a centre-half, Bolton had a talent for both passing and shooting.
Steve Sherwood, 1977–1987A long serving and loyal goal-keeper, Sherwood played for Watford throughout the Taylor heyday of 1977–1987. He started in first game under Taylor's reign and finished the last. During his time at the club Sherwood was frequently out of the side, but over the course of three seasons, 1981–1982 (promotion to Division One), 1982–1983 (record high 2nd place finish) and 1983–84 (Europe and the FA Cup Final), he missed just six games.
Wilf Rostron, 1979–1989Bought as a left-winger in 1979, Rostron was moved to left-back in 1982 and automatically excelled there. He became captain of Watford's successful eighties side, although he missed the FA Cup Final through suspension. He won the Player of the Season award several times.
Steve Sims, 1978–1984, 1986–1987When he signed for Watford at the end of the 1978–79 he was the most expensive Division Three player ever, costing £175,000. A high quality but injury-prone central defender, Sims played for Watford for six years, in two spells.
Nigel Callaghan, 1980–1991A flamboyant right-winger, Callaghan was a frequent assist-maker in the Watford side of the 1980s.
Kenny Jackett, 1980–1990A cultured creative central midfielder, Jackett was a fixture in the Watford side in their heyday of the 1980s. After retiring in 1990, Jackett took a coaching position at the club, and worked in a variety of positions - including manager in 1996–97 - until 2001.
*Les Taylor, 1980–1985 A hard-working central midfielder, Taylor was the Player of the Season in Watford's most successful season ever, when they finished second in Division One in 1982–83. With Rostron absent, Taylor captained Watford for their single FA Cup final appearance in 1984 [http://www.thefa.com/TheFACup/TheFACup/History/Postings/2003/11/44455.htm Classic Cup Finals: 1984] The FA] .
*John Barnes, 1981–1987Perhaps the most talented player ever to play for Watford, Barnes made his debut for the club aged 17 in 1981. He played for the club for 6 years, during which he appeared in the FA Cup final side, and represented England 31 times.
Nigel Gibbs, 1982–2002Gibbs made his Watford debut in 1983, at the age of 17. He served Watford as a player for 20 years, making his final appearance for the club in April 2002. A dependable and loyal right-back, Gibbs suffered a career-threatening injury in 1993 and was released in 1996, but stayed with the club, joining them for pre-season training and regaining a contract. After retiring, Gibbs served Watford as a coach for three years. He was sacked in the summer of 2006, to much protest from fans.
*Gary Porter, 1983–1996One of Watford's longest serving players, Porter made 464 appearances for Watford in his 13 years at the club. He once scored a second half hat-trick against Bolton. Watford at one stage 0-3 down, went on to win the game 4-3
*Maurice Johnston, 1983–1985Helped lead Watford to the F.A. Cup final and made his Scotland debut whilst playing at Vicarage Road.
Tony Coton, 1984–1990Arriving in 1984, Coton was Watford's number 1 for the rest of the 1980s. A strong and occasionally controversial 'keeper, Coton was a crowd favorite.
*John McClelland, 1984–1990A deceptively quick central defender, McClelland marshaled Watford's defence for the second half of the eighties, captaining it for some time.
*David James, 1990–1992The future England number one started his career at Watford, making 98 appearances for the club in two seasons.
*Richard Johnson, 1991–2003A central midfielder whose partnership with Micah Hyde was central in Watford's double promotion seasons of 1997/98 and 1998/99. While he will be remembered for his spectacular goals and often crunching challenges, it was his vision and raking passes that marked him out as one of the greatest midfielders to play for the club.
*Robert Page, 1994–2001The captain of the Watford side during its late 1990s success period, Page is the only Watford player to lift a trophy at Wembley, and was the Player of the Season in the 1999/00 Premiership season.
Tommy Mooney, 1994–2001A passionate and determined player, Mooney was instrumental in Watford's successive promotions in 1997–1998 and 1998–1999. A forward by trade, Mooney played at the back during 1997–1998, but returned to the forward line in 1998–1999 where an end of season goal-run pushed Watford into the play-offs. In his final season at the club, he became the first player since Paul Furlong to score 20 goals in a season.
Steve Palmer, 1996–2001Partner of Page in 1998–99 play-off final, Palmer also played every single game of the club's 1999–2000 Premiership campaign. A dedicated utility player, Palmer has the distinction of being the only player to have worn every shirt number from 1-14 in a single season, for Watford in the 1997–98 season.
Alec Chamberlain, 1996–2007A goalkeeper who has proved to be a bargain after joining from Sunderland for just £40,000 and played an instrumental role in Watford double promotion in '98 to Division One and '99 to the Premiership. He has since been 2nd choice keeper for most of the time and taken a coaching role at the club but has also signed a contact extension making him the Premiership's oldest player in 2006-07.
*Paul Robinson, 1997–2003A left-back who came through the ranks at Watford, he made his debut against arch-rivals Luton in 1997. A member of the 1998–99 play-off side, Robinson's passion made him become a favourite of the terraces.
*"'Tommy Smith, 1997–2003, 2006–presentA locally-born striker who came through the academy to make 149 appearances (scoring 33 goals) in his first spell for Watford. After three years away at Sunderland and Derby, he was resigned by Aidy Boothroyd on summer deadline day 2006. Recrafted as a right midfielder, he turned out several impressive performances in the Premiership 2006-07 season, helping the Golden Boys to the FA cup semi-final [http://www.thefa.com/TheFACup/TheFACup/NewsAndFeatures/Postings/RooneyWatford1.htm FA Cup Semi Final: Watford vs Manchester Utd] The FA] .
Heiðar Helguson, 2000–2005 Principal forward in the 2000s, the Icelandic international moved from Lillestrommidway through the 1999–2000 season. He was loved by the crowds for his enthusiasm and commitment. The powerful and fiery centre-forward was the first player to win the Display of the Season, Goal of the Season and Player of the Season awards in a single season (2004–2005).
Ashley Young, 2002–2007 A forward (Winger/Striker) who came through the youth academy at Watford. He was instrumental in Watford's 2005–06 promotion to the Premiership. In January 2007 he moved to Aston Villa for a club record transfer fee of £8,000,000 (with add-ons this may raise to £9,650,000) [http://www.watfordfc.premiumtv.co.uk/page/History/0,,10400~65910,00.html History of Watford FC - Club Records] watfordfc.com] [http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/a/aston_villa/6277389.stm Young completes £9.65m Villa move] BBC] . The previous record fee being £2,300,000 for Paul Furlongto Chelsea in May 1994 .
Marlon King, 2005–2008 The first player since Luther Blissett to score 20 League goals in a season for Watford, he finished as the top scorer in the 2005–06 Championship season with 22 goals as he inspired the Hornets to promotion. He was voted the club's Player of the Season, but was injured against Arsenal in October 2006 and missed most of the 2006–07 season. He returned as a surprise substitute against Manchester United in the FA Cup Semi-final in April 2007 [http://www.thefa.com/TheFACup/TheFACup/NewsAndFeatures/Postings/RooneyWatford1.htm FA Cup Semi Final: Watford vs Manchester Utd] The FA] . After 11 league goals in the 2007–08 Championship season, King moved to Wigan F.C.in the January transfer window for a potential fee of £4 million.
*Ben Foster, 2005–2007The current Manchester United goalkeeper was sent out on loan to Watford where he had two years of progress which saw him earn his first England cap.
"Players in order of debut; spells as coach not included in time at club."
Watford have had a total of 26 managers. Two,
Len Gouldenand Neil McBainhad two spells, one, Graham Taylor had three. The statistics in the following table account for the league games of each manager.
31 January 2008"
* Most league appearances: Luther Blissett, 415 league (503 all competitions), 1976–1992 [http://www.watfordfc.premiumtv.co.uk/page/History/0,,10400~65910,00.html History of Watford FC - Club Records] watfordfc.com]
* Highest all-time goal-scorer: Luther Blissett, 148 league goals (186 all competitions), 1976–1992 [http://www.watfordfc.premiumtv.co.uk/page/History/0,,10400~65910,00.html History of Watford FC - Club Records] watfordfc.com]
* Most goals in a season:
Cliff Holton, 42, 1959–1960 [http://www.watfordfc.premiumtv.co.uk/page/History/0,,10400~65910,00.html History of Watford FC - Club Records] watfordfc.com]
* Most capped player: John Barnes, England, 31 caps
* Best win: 10-1 vs Lowestoft Town,
27 November 1926, FA CupRound 1 [http://www.watfordfc.premiumtv.co.uk/page/History/0,,10400~65910,00.html History of Watford FC - Club Records] watfordfc.com]
* Best league win: 8-0 vs Sunderland,
25 September 1982, Division 1 [http://www.watfordfc.premiumtv.co.uk/page/History/0,,10400~65910,00.html History of Watford FC - Club Records] watfordfc.com]
* Most wins in one season: 30, 1977–78
* Most draws in one season: 19, 1996–97
* Highest league finish: 2nd, Division One, 1982–83 [http://www.watfordfc.premiumtv.co.uk/page/History/0,,10400~65910,00.html History of Watford FC - Club Records] watfordfc.com]
* Least defeats in one season: 0, 1903–1904
* Worst loss: 0-10 vs Wolverhampton Wanderers,
24 January 1912, FA CupRound 1 Replay
* Highest transfer fee paid: £3,250,000 for
Nathan Ellingtonfrom West Brom, August 2007. (Fee may rise to 4,250,000.) [http://www.watfordfc.premiumtv.co.uk/page/History/0,,10400~65910,00.html History of Watford FC - Club Records] watfordfc.com] [http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/w/watford/6969399.stm Watford sign Ellington for £3.25m] BBC]
* Highest transfer fee received: £8,000,000 for
Ashley Youngto Aston Villa, January 2007. (Fee may rise to 9,650,000.) [http://www.watfordfc.premiumtv.co.uk/page/History/0,,10400~65910,00.html History of Watford FC - Club Records] watfordfc.com] [http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/a/aston_villa/6277389.stm Young completes £9.65m Villa move] BBC]
* Highest attendance: 34,099 vs Manchester United,
3 February 1969, FA Cup Round 4 [http://www.watfordfc.premiumtv.co.uk/page/History/0,,10400~65910,00.html History of Watford FC - Club Records] watfordfc.com]
* Highest average attendance: 18,840 FA Premier League 2006–07
Watford L.F.C., the affiliated women's team.
Harry the Hornet, club mascot
* [http://www.watfordfc.com/ Watford FC official homepage]
*BBC Football Info|w/watford|Watford
* [http://www.soccerbase.com/teams2.sd?teamid=2741 Soccerbase - a large amount of Watford data] at
* [http://www.watfordlegends.com/ Interviews with former Watford players]
* [http://www.HornetHistory.com/ Hornet History :History of Watford Football Club from 1940s]
* [http://www.historicalkits.co.uk/Watford/Watford.htm History of Watford Kits]
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