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  • Stephan Hoogerwaard

Vicarage Road – Watford FC


Photos by Google



Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.29


Vicarage Road Vicarage Rd Watford, Hertfordshire WD18 0ER

Watford FC website Vicarage Road website


Year Opened: 1922 Capacity: 20,877

 

Up Close and Personal at Vicarage Road

Vicarage Road is a stadium in the English town of Watford (Hertfordshire) in the greater London area. The nickname of the stadium is ‘The Vic’ and that name has been adopted by most of the Watford FC supporters.

Since the completion of the new Sir Elton John Stand in 2014, the stadium offers seating for 20,877 spectators.


Since 1922 Vicarage Road has been the home of Watford FC. The first match ever to be played at ‘The Vic’ was on the 30th of August 1922 against Millwall. Between 1997 and 2013 the stadium was shared with the rugby club Saracens.


In January 2002 Watford became the owner of the stadium, but due to financial problems they had to sell the property, and the stadium was rented again. Thanks to donations from supporters and former owner Sir Elton John it was Watford FC took over the stadium again in September 2004.


Vicarage Road has four different stands. The stadium has been rebuilt stand-by stand in the past three decades. The only two-tiered stand at The Vic is the Graham Taylor Stand, built in 1986, with a capacity of 5,771 seats. Behind the goals, you will find the Vicarage Road Stand (1992, 5,796 seats) and the Rookery Stand (1995, 6,960 seats). The newest stand is the Sir Elton John Stand which was opened in 2014. It is by far the smallest of the four stands with a capacity of just 3,100 seats.


Food & Beverage 4

The stadium offers a wide range of food selections that have improved in recent years and you will find your basic everyday football snacks along with some local traditional dishes. The prices are a little bit higher compared to other venues in the league ranging from £4.50 to £7.50


The hot food includes a wide selection of pies from the traditional steak, chicken balti, and butter and bean. There are also vegetarian pies and vegan pasties, sausage rolls, hot dogs, and cheeseburgers; fans can add chili or barbecue chicken toppings to their hot dogs and burgers for an additional price.


The variety continues with pie, mash, and gravy along with hot sub rolls, and chicken or beef curry served with rice and naan bread. Southern fried chicken and chips, vegetarian Jackfruit curry, and chips with cheese or chili or barbecue chicken are also available at the concession stands. As with any other venue in the league, fans can pick up a bag of crisps or confectionaries for a small price.


The stadium offers is tea, coffee, and hot chocolate for those colder games along with soft drinks and water. All draft pints and red ales are £5 with half-pints fetching £2.80. Carlsberg and Somerby’s bottles sell for £5.20 and the wine sells for £6.20. Fans can also get pre-mix spirits and mixers for £6.20 served in the Vbar only.


Atmosphere 4

As you might expect of a ground having one of the smallest seating capacities in the league, the inside of the stadium feels compact. Whilst empty, all seats inside the stadium are in the club colours: red, black, and yellow. There’s very little room beyond the sidelines and behind the goals which gives Vicarage Road an intimate character.


The stands (which are almost fully enclosed) are right on top of the field making Watford fans feel like they are truly part of the action. The home fans are housed in the Rookery Stand and are most vocal in this part of the ground. The away supporters are located at the Vicarage Road Stand of the stadium.


The Rookery Stand includes both restaurants the View and the Gallery along with matchday offices. The Graham Taylor Stand includes the Sir Elton John suite along with restaurants Horizons, the Grill, and the Carbon. The Sir Elton John Stan is home to a sensory room for fans on the spectrum along with the Hornets Shop team store. The Vicarage Road Stand is home to both the family stand and visitor supporter section. The 100-page program sells for £3.50.


Neighborhood 2

Vicarage Road borders residential homes at the Watford General Hospital and does not feature the abundance of watering holes and restaurants that some fans might be abundant accustomed to at other grounds in the league. However, there are few places to grab a pint of a bite to eat before or after the game that is within reasonable distance by foot or near mass transportation stations.


O’Neill’s, formerly The Flag, is near the Watford Junction Station and is home to a large outside seating area that is perfect early in the season. They also have a large selection of beer and a great food menu. The Mood Under Water is a casual eatery with small plates and local cuisine. The No. 8 Red Lion is the closest pub to the grounds. The Horn offers live music and an outdoor patio, and The Oddfellows is ideal for a pint or two.


The Warner Bros Studio Tour offers tours of actual film sets and learn the special effects tricks used in the Harry Potter films. The Lincolnsfields Children’s Centre is home to the Forties Experience, an exhibit with 1940s artifacts, period decor & music, open to the public one Sunday per month.


Fans 4

The nickname of the Watford fans is ‘The Hornets’ and their club mascot is Harry the Hornet. During the 2014-2015 season in the Championship Watford had an average home gate of around 17,500, but will surely sell out every home game in the Premier League. Their rivals are Luton Town, but they are playing in League Two at the moment. The closest Premier League ground to Vicarage Road is White Hart Lane, home of Tottenham Hotspur FC.

Access 3

Driving by car to the stadium is easily reached via the M25 ring road London (exit 5 of the junction M1 motorway). Upon entering the town via the city center it will take less than 10 minutes to get to the stadium.

There is no parking on the grounds and street parking is restricted for on which residents on match day.


Waterford town center does have several car parks including Church Car Park, Gade Car Park, and Sutton Car Park which are all within a 10-minute walk of Vicarage Road. Watford High Street is a 10-minute walk Watford Junction is a 20-minute walk in the metropolitan line of the London Underground and is 10 to 20 minutes and one mile from the stadium.


Return on Investment 3

Prices at Vicarage Road vary from £32 for a seat behind one of the goals ends, to £32 for the Sir Elton John Stand and £38 for the Graham Taylor Stand with concessions for O.A.P’s and under 16’s. We find these ticket prices quite expensive for attending a football match in the second-highest league of English football.


Extras 3

The club offers stadium tours, but there are many more interesting grounds in the greater London area. The Vicarage Road stadium has also a club shop (which is located inside the Vicarage Road Stand). second-highestoffersMatchday programmes are on sale for every game priced at GBP 3.00. We were fortunate enough to be at the match where fans ran onto the pitch after the team secured their promotion to Premier League status, adding to our particular experience.


Final Thoughts

Watford fans are great and this is a nice stadium overall The grounds are at near capacity crowds that are up close and personal to the players on the pitch. The cheering echoes throughout the stands and the atmosphere is full of history at the facility that blends both modern and classic styles.



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