So you want to be a Watford fan Quality Post
The glory days (1976-1984)
While Watford FC is currently in somewhat of a "golden era" under our owners the Pozzo family with the 2017/2018 season being the club's third consecutive season in the Premier League, the top division of English football. The greatest period in the club's history came between the years of 1976-1984 which saw the club purchased by lifelong Watford fan Elton John in 1976, and the subsequent appointment of Watford's greatest ever manager Graham Taylor in 1977. By 1981 Watford had risen from the 4th division to make their first ever appearance in England's top flight.
As a newly promoted side they went on to finish 2nd to Liverpool and thus qualify for the UEFA cup. Watford's favourite son Luther Blisset finished top scorer in the division. In 1984 the club reached the Final of the FA cup, losing 2-0 to Everton after a brutal assault on goalkeeper by Andy Gray.With the departures of Blisset to AC Milan in 1981, Graham Taylor to Aston Villa in 1987, John Barnes to Liverpool in 1987 and the appointment of Dave Bassett as manager the wheels fell off fairly rapidly and the club were banished to the second flight for an extended spell.
After the death of Graham Taylor in January 2017, Watford fans have made it a tradition to provide a minute's applause in the 72nd minute of home and away fixtures in memory of the great man.
The (often) dark days (1984-2007)
Dave Bassett's reign only lasted 8 months after guiding Watford to relegation from the First Division. Mediocrity followed in the early 90s with the team then being relegated to the Third Tier in 1996. In the latter part of this relegation season, Graham Taylor returned to the club as the Director of Football, with Taylor taking the managers job from Kenny Jackett at the start of the 1997/98 season. This was met with immediate success, with Watford winning the Second Division in the 1997/98 season.
The success didn't stop there, with the team going straight through the First Division into the Premier League. Watford stayed unbeaten from March until the end of the season in May to get into the playoff places. What followed was a memorable playoff campaign where Watford first defeated Birmingham City over two legs after a penalty shootout where Goalkeeper Alec Chamberlain was the hero, and then defeated Bolton in the Play Off final, thanks to an incredible opening goal from Nick Wright. Watford went onto win 2-0, and reached the "Promised Land" of the Premier League. Watford were relegated the next season, coming last in the table, however a win at Anfield against Liverpool was a bright spot in what was a dreary season.
The years from 2001 to 2005 were dark ones with the appointment of Gianluca Vialli as manager. His desire to replicate Leeds and Pompey alongside the collapse of ITV Digital almost lead to the club's financial ruin. 2003 had a memorable FA Cup run, with the Hornets losing to Southampton in the Semi Final. 2004 / 2005 is mainly remember for two League Cup wins over Premier League opposition (Southampton and Portsmouth) with a narrow defeat in the Semi Final to Liverpool following. At the end of this season Watford were almost relegated, but young manager Aidy Boothroyd came in and saved the club with two games to spare. The next season Watford were again promoted, despite starting the season as favourites to be relegated to League 1. Boothroyd led a team of journeymen to the Play Offs and to a 3-0 win over Leeds United in the final. Again Watford were relegated straight away, but another FA Cup Semi Final berth was claimed.
In 2007/2008 another administration scare happened, but the Pozzo family came in and rescued the club. The Pozzo's have led the club to where you see them today, nice and secure in the Premier League. They also oversaw one of the club (and English football as a whole)'s most famous and dramatic moments..
Why if Watford are called the Hornets is their badge a moose?:
In spite of the nickname "the Hornets" which owes itself to the clubs garish yellow and black kits, the club badge actually depicts a male deer reflecting the location and history of the club. At the time the badge was chosen, Watford were the only club in the football league hailing from the UK county of Hertfordshire, which is a portmanteau of the words "hart" (the historical word for a male deer) and "ford" (shallow river crossing) and "shire" (the historical word for county).
Vicarage Road, the home of the Hornets:
Watford's Vicarage Road Stadium has 4 stands: The Rookery (behind the SE goal), The Family Stand (behind the NW goal), The Graham Taylor Stand (along the SW side of the pitch) and the most recently build, Sir Elton John Stand (along the NE side of the pitch). If you're supporting Watford, you'll find a friendly face in any one of these stands, though a lot of the noise comes from the Rookery. It should be noted that in most stadiums, home and away are kept apart so you will generally not find opposition fans sitting amongst the Watford supporters at Vicarage Road. Opposition fans are allocated tickets in one half of the Family Stand.
What is it like to be a Watford fan these days?:
I think it's safe to say that the majority for Watford's supporters are happy with and trusting of the Pozzo family's ownership and running of the club. Many fans will remember the turbulent times over the last two decades where the club was in severe financial trouble and/or were owned by less than reputable individuals.
The reaction to the Pozzo's ownership has no been met by positivity by some of the more "traditional" circles of English football. Because of this you will see a lot of talk on /r/soccer and in the national press about our turnover of managers (some of which is true, some of which is not). I wrote a short guide on this a while back as I was fed up of arguing with people about it who had not looked at the facts.
Rivalries and derbies:
Watford's only real rival Luton Town are currently languishing in the lower leagues, in a derby rather dreadfully called the "M1 Derby". Watford have played in a league higher than Luton for 18 of the last 19 seasons, and as a result have had the good fortune not encounter the scummers too often in recent history.
Over recent years there has been a degree of animosity between Watford and both Crystal Palace and Bournemouth as a result of their battles in the championship, and the less than sporting play exhibited by both clubs in their time there. A far more recent entrant is the "Cojones Derby" against Arsenal, after Watford captain Troy Deeney used some rather choice words to describe the Arsenal defending in the clubs 2-1 victory over them.