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Chronology

  • 1881 ….. A group of teenage sons of local property-owning families form the club as Watford Rovers, for the simple pleasure of kicking a ball about in Cassiobury Park
  • 1882 ….. The first proper matches are undertaken, with home games played in Vicarage Meadow
  • 1883 ….. Rose & Crown Meadow becomes the venue for home matches
  • 1886 ….. The first competitive matches are played – in the FA Cup and then the Herts Senior Cup
  • 1889 ….. The club moves to Colney Butts Meadow when Rose & Crown Meadow is lost to urban development
  • 1890 ….. Rovers becomes the football section of the newly-formed West Herts Club & Ground in Cassio Road
  • 1893 ….. After three years of internal conflict over the club name, the change from “Watford Rovers” to “West Herts” is universally accepted
  • 1896 ….. West Herts join Division 2 of the Southern League
  • 1897 ….. The club adopts professionalism
  • 1898 ….. When rival club Watford St Mary’s folds, West Herts’ name is changed, for the last time, to Watford
  • 1900 ….. The championship of Southern League Division 2 is won, and with it promotion to Division 1
  • 1903 ….. Relegated to Division 2. John Goodall, one of the great players of the 19th century, is appointed as the club’s first manager
  • 1904 ….. With 18 wins and 2 draws in their 20 fixtures, the club wins the championship again and regains its 1st Division status
  • 1909 ….. The club becomes a limited company, with shareholders instead of members, and its committee replaced by a board of directors
  • 1915 ….. Football has controversially continued despite the outbreak of war, and Watford win the Southern League championship under manager Harry Kent
  • 1917 ….. After two seasons competing in the wartime London Combination, the club suspends operations for two years
  • 1919 ….. Normal peacetime competitions are resumed, and only goal average deprives Watford of a second consecutive Southern League championship
  • 1920 ….. The Southern League’s 1st Division becomes Division 3 of the Football League. It is renamed “Division 3 (South)” a year later when a corresponding Northern section is added
  • 1922 ….. Vicarage Road becomes the club’s new home ground
  • 1939 ….. Normal competitions cease immediately war is declared and the club embarks on seven seasons of football under wartime conditions
  • 1945 ….. The FA Cup competition is resumed
  • 1946 ….. Normal Football League activity is resumed
  • 1958 ….. Watford finish in the bottom half of the Division 3 (South) table and become founder-members of Division 4 as the League’s lower sections are reorganized
  • 1960 ….. Fourth place in the table earns the club promotion to Division 3 under the charismatic leadership of 48-goal Cliff Holton
  • 1969 ….. Under manager Ken Furphy Watford are champions of Division 3, and promoted to Division 2 for the first time
  • 1970 ….. The club reaches the FA Cup Semi-finals for the first time
  • 1972 ….. Relegated to Division 3
  • 1975 ….. Relegated to Division 4
  • 1978 ….. A record-breaking era begins with the 4th Division championship and promotion to Division 3
  • 1979 ….. A second successive promotion takes the club into Division 2
  • 1982 ….. Watford’s meteoric rise to the top tier of English football is complete
  • 1983 ….. A second-place finish in the top flight, behind Liverpool and ahead of Manchester United, provides the club with entry to the UEFA Cup
  • 1984 ….. The FA Cup Final is reached for the first time, but ends in a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Everton
  • 1988 ….. Graham Taylor, mastermind of the ten-year miracle, has departed, and the club is relegated to Division 2
  • 1992 ….. The top-flight clubs break away to form the FA Premier League, and Division 2 of the Football League becomes Division 1
  • 1996 ….. Relegation to Division 2 (formerly Division 3)
  • 1998 ….. Graham Taylor has returned and again begins with a championship, bringing promotion to Division 1
  • 1999 ….. History repeats itself and a second successive promotion is achieved under Taylor, this time via a Play-off victory at Wembley Stadium
  • 2000 ….. Relegation from the FA Premier League to Football League Division 1
  • 2004 ….. Division 1 is renamed the Football League Championship
  • 2006 ….. In his first full season as a football-club manager, Aidy Boothroyd leads Watford back into the top flight
  • 2007 ….. The club is again relegated after only one season in the Premier League
  • 2015 ….. Slaviša Jokanovic takes the club into the Premier League only six months after his appointment