21,577 (all seated)
Address: Vicarage Road, Watford, WD18 0ER
Telephone: 01923 496 000
Fax: 01923 496 001
Ticket Office: 01923 223 023
Pitch Size: 115 x 75 yards
Pitch Type: Grass
Club Nickname: The Hornets
Year Ground Opened: 1922
Undersoil Heating: Yes
Shirt Sponsors: Sportsbet
Home Kit: Yellow & Black Stripes
Away Kit: All Blue
Vicarage Road Stadium has been improved recently, not only with the opening of the Sir Elton John Stand on the East side of the stadium but also with a number of cosmetic changes both inside and out. This has included new video screens, hospitality areas, and general improvements to the stadium corners, but also some smart external cladding, plus a new Reception and Club Shop. These have all been done very well and to a high standard making Vicarage Road not only a smart looking and tidy looking ground, but one that has some individual character too.
Sir Elton John Stand as it has been named, opened in December 2014 and was further expanded six months later, by the addition of more rows of seating to the front of it. Although quite simple looking, this covered single tiered stand has a capacity of 3,800 seats and its construction has greatly improved the overall look of the stadium. In a further tribute to Sir Elton John, some lyrics from one of his hit records; ‘Your Song’ are embossed in large letters across the back supporting wall.
Opposite to the new Sir Elton John Stand, is the Graham Taylor Stand, which is named after their former manager, who took the Club up from the old Fourth Division to Division One in just five years and firmly put the club on the map. This stand which was opened in 1986, is a two-tiered stand that has an interesting roof design, with a number of semi-circular arches. Light is also able to penetrate through the roof aiding pitch growth. It also has a row of executive boxes running across the back.
The ground has had both ends re-developed during the 1990’s along with the front of the Graham Taylor Stand. Both ends are similar looking large single tiered stands, with some strange looking floodlights perched on the roofs. Away fans are housed in one of these ends in the Vicarage Road Stand. Whilst opposite the Rookery Stand is larger, housing some 6,950 supporters. There are two large video screens situated in opposite corners of the ground.
The teams come out to the old theme tune of the old Police series Z-Cars, as Watford fan Robert Hill explains; ‘this started in the 1963-64 season when Z Cars were at its height on television. It was a favourite programme of the then Manager Bill McGarry and he asked that it be played at Vicarage Road. That season turned out to be a successful one of the Hornets and it has been continued to be played at the ground.’ Outside the stadium in front of the club shop is a statue of former manager Graham Taylor, which was unveiled in August 2018.
Watford had hoped to relocate to a new, larger stadium at nearby Bushey Green where they’d be able to offer up a 33k capacity stadium along with another 6,000 seater arena. It’s all null and void now though with their application being binned off part way through 2021. At this moment in time it looks like Watford’s stadium will remain as Vicarage Road but they’re obviously on the lookout for an alternative opportunity; how long that will take, who knows?
Watford played their home games at many stadiums in the early days after their formation but Cassio Road is perhaps the best known. The Hornets spent over three decades there. In 1922 they waved goodbye to that ground and a new Watford Stadium was born; it was Vicarage Road. For 80 years the stadium belonged to Benskins, a beer brewer, which meant development was largely out of their control. Despite this, changes were gradually made with proper terracing being introduced gradually before the current four stands were developed and opened across a number of decades; the most recent addition being the Sir Elton John Stand that opened in late 2014.
The club did briefly buy the stadium in the early 2000s but the nip and tuck of football and finances saw it all unwind pretty quickly. Eventually, the aforementioned Elton John repurchased the stadium. That gave control of things to Watford and the most recent addition to the ground was a few extra seats, which were installed in 2015.
Away fans are housed on the Eastern side of the Vicarage Road Stand at one end of the ground. This stand is shared with home supporters (with the obligatory ‘no-mans land’ comprised of empty seats covered in netting in-between). Around 2,200 visiting fans can be accommodated in this area. The stand has electronic turnstiles, meaning that you have to place your ticket into a bar code reader to gain entrance. You should also then expect to be searched by the stewards on the way in. Turnstiles open 90 minutes before kick off.
I’ve always found this club friendly and the stewarding relaxed on my four visits and have never had any hassle, although at times there can be a heavy police presence around the ground and in the town centre. My only real gripe is that the size of the concourse at the back of the stand is one of the tightest that I have come across and is wholly inadequate when there is a large away following. If you manage to get to the serving hatch, then you will find on offer the usual fayre of Hot Dogs (£4.80), Pies (£4.30), Sausage Rolls (£4) and Vegetarian Pies (£4.20). Adam Hodson a visiting Stockport fan adds; ‘I was very impressed with the ground and the modern facilities. There was plenty of leg room in the way end and a good atmosphere. However, the concourses are very small meaning that they easily get crowded’. There is also a betting outlet available.
On the first occasion that I visited Vicarage Road, I met a Watford supporter in a pub who gave me a free ticket to that night’s local derby against Luton. I was also impressed with this chap as at the time he had visited 91 League grounds with Watford. Perhaps he was in some part my inspiration for doing the ’92’.
Christopher Harrison a visiting Middlesbrough fan recommends the ‘Odd Fellows’ in Fearnley Street ‘It is only a couple of hundred yards from the ground and they even had a barbeque in the beer garden’. The bar is situated off Cassio Road and is clearly visible when taking the route to Vicarage Road from the town centre via Market Street. The Irish themed pub is only a few minutes walk away from the away turnstiles. It has a large beer garden, with a covered area for smokers and offers from its barbecue, Burgers (£3) and Hot Dogs (£2.50). Even though it was very busy on my last visit, I was impressed with the service from behind the bar, getting served in a reasonable time (even though it looked like you had no chance of getting near to the bar let alone being served!).
Otherwise, the ground is in walking distance of the town centre, where along the High Street you will find a few pubs including a large Wetherspoons outlet called the Moon Under Water. If you are feeling peckish then if you are walking to the ground from the town centre then there are a number of eating establishments en route. Please note that alcohol is NOT sold in the away section.
From The North
Leave the M1 at Junction 5 and take the A4008 into Watford. If on nearing the town centre you can’t see the ground over on your left, just go left around the inner ring road (follow signs for Watford General Hospital as this is located behind the ground) and you will soon spot it.
From The South & West
Leave the M25 at Junction 19 and take the A411 towards Watford (be wary of speed cameras along this road). On nearing the town centre you will reach two roundabouts in quick succession. Go straight across the first but at the second turn right onto the A412 towards Rickmansworth. Then take the second left into Merton Road (signposted Hospital). When the road forks then keep to the right and then at the traffic lights where the road forks again turn left into Vicarage Road (still heading towards the Hospital). The ground is down on the left.
There are also some private match day car parks available at some industrial units near the ground, as well as the Watford Grammar School for Girls (WD18 0AE), which is close to the stadium and charges £10 per car and £15 per minibus. Around a five minute walk away is Chater Junior School on Addiscombe Road WD18 0ND) which also offers parking at £10 per car. This car park opens 1 hour 45 minutes before kick-off and closes 45 minutes after the end of the match.
As Vicarage Road is situated near Watford town centre, then visiting fans can use a number of town centre car parks which are within reasonable walking distance. On most of my visits I have parked in the Church multi-storey car park (which costs £1 per hour and is located on the inner ring road). John Peake a visiting Bristol City fan tells me; ‘We parked in the Church Car Park which is a pay on exit. Although it is an easy 15 minute walk from the ground, there were long queues to use the pay machines after the game and we had then queue again in our car to leave the car park. All in all, it took us about 45 minutes to get out and back onto the road’. Iain Bell adds; ‘There are some additional pay machines located outside the car park, by the High Street exit.’ Richard Sheppard informs me; ‘I parked in the intu shopping centre multi-storey, which cost £4 for four hours. It is approximately a 15 minute walk to the ground and was easy to get out after the game and back onto the M1’.
Peter Laggan informs me; ‘I parked in the Gade multi-storey car park on Rosslyn Road (WD17 1NA), which as a 15-20 minute walk away from Vicarage Road. It cost £1 per hour and was relatively easy to exit after the game had ended.’ There is also the option of renting a private driveway near the Vicarage Road Stadium via YourParkingSpace.co.uk. Also around a 20 minute walk away is Bromet Primary School on Oxhey Road (WD19 4SG) which costs £5. It opens two hours before kick-off and closes one hour after the end of the match.
Post Code for SAT NAV: WD18 0ER
The nearest railway station is Watford High Street, a ten minute walk away from the Vicarage Road ground. However you are likely to come into Watford Junction Railway Station, which is about a 20 minute walk. Either get a train to Watford High Street from Watford Junction or if you have time to walk to the ground then:
Leave the station & take main road straight opposite (Clarendon Road) all the way (over Ring Road at lights) up to the High Street. Turn left and go past Wetherspoons (Moon under Water) on your right and then take the first right after 100 yards into Market Street. Continue along again crossing Ring Road to T junction & then left at an excellent chip shop. Vicarage Road is the next right turn. It should take around 15-20 minutes to walk.
Watford also has its own London Underground tube station, which is on the Metropolitan Line and is situated just under one mile from Vicarage Road. However overland trains from London normally have a shorter journey time. Thanks to Albert Fuller for providing the above directions.
Booking train tickets in advance will normally save you money!
Graham Taylor Stand (Upper tier):
Adults £42, Over 65’s £28, Under 20’s & Students £24, Under 16’s £20
Graham Taylor Stand (Lower tier):
Adults £36, Over 65’s £22, Under 20’s & Students £18, Under 16’s £14
Sir Elton John Stand: Adults £40, Over 65’s £26, Under 20’s & Students £22, Under 16’s £18
Rookery Stand: Adults £36, Over 65’s £22, Under 20’s & Students £18, Under 16’s £14
Vicarage Road Stand: Adults £36, Over 65’s £22, Under 20’s & Students £18, Under 16’s £14
Family Area: Adults £36, Over 65’s £22, Under 20’s & Students £18, Under 16’s £10
As per an agreement with all Premier League Clubs, away fans will be charged a maximum price of those shown below for all League games:
Vicarage Road Stand:
Over 65’s £22
Under 20’s & Students* £18
Under 16’s £10
In addition the Club offer a small discount on some seats in the away section where there is restricted leg room:
Over 65’s £19
Under 20’s & Students* £15
Under 16’s £7
*Students must be in full time education and have a valid student card (including an expiration date) to be presented at the turnstiles.
Official Programme £3.50
Watford vs Luton rivalry
When you look at all the factors, it is little surprise that these two have a little bit of dislike for one another. Both are on the periphery of the capital, both were formed in the same decade in the late nineteenth century and there is just 18 miles between the two clubs. The two of them have spent plenty to of time facing off in the same league too.
For details of disabled facilities and club contact at the ground please visit the relevant page on the Level Playing Field website.
Outside the Club shop is a statue of Graham Taylor OBE
The plinth simply reads ‘Watford’s greatest ever manager’
Thanks to Jim Stewart for providing the photo above.
34,099 v Manchester United
FA Cup 4th Round Replay, 3rd February 1969.
Modern All Seated Attendance Record
21,634 v Liverpool
Premier League, 29th February 2020.
2019-2020: 20,837 (Premier League)
2018-2019: 20,016 (Premier League)
2017-2018: 20,231 (Premier League)