Vicarage Road

Ground No. 51
Visited - Saturday 11th December 2004
Result - Watford 1-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers
Competition - Coca Cola Championship
Attendance - 14,605

It seemed like all of the people that I talked to before this game had been to Vicarage Road, even the ones that never go away! So going down on the train I was quite looking forward to visiting, as everyone had good stories to tell of it. 

I'd left home early, arriving into Watford just after 10:30, and after leaving the station walked straight into town, having a quick look around before carrying on down to the ground. I found my way quite easily, despite having a maze of subways to pass through, getting there at a little after 11am, and once there started walking around the outside, taking pictures, before going down Occupation Road to get some of the East Stand.

At the bottom there was an open gate with a steward standing next to it, so I decided to try my luck and ask if there was any chance of getting in, and surprisingly he said yes, so buoyed by that I went into the Rookery End, and started to take pictures of the ground empty. I was able to go all round the stadium, taking pics of all sides, and was fairly impressed, with 3 sides being a good size, and all neat and tidy. There were a few signs of wear and tear, with the odd faded/different colour seat dotted around, but generally it has been well looked after and looked like a good place to watch football. The one obvious let down though was the East Stand, which was a mixture of 3 separate, smaller stands, starting off with some open terracing nearest to the away end, which had some backless seats bolted on, and then the main (and what looked to be the oldest) part in the middle, which was quite a nice, if dated, looking stand with its sloping roof and supporting pillars that evoked memories of a different time of football. The last part of this side is a small, fairly featureless stand with a flat roof and more supporting pillars. Hopefully the plans to replace this side will become reality before too long.

After taking time to go around the inside, I started working my way around the outside, and was a bit disappointed really. The rear of the Rookery End is nice enough, although doesn’t really stand out as having any special features, then the back of the East Stand is much the same as the inside, although the red brick wall running the length of it gives it a good old fashioned feel, and it doesn’t look run down really, just not modern. Coming back to the main road and The Vicarage Road end is quite nice, unusual for a football stand, it doesn’t initially strike you as such, with no turnstiles along the back of it (having both sets in the corners) only the club shop, and exits gives its purpose away. The last stand, the Rous Stand really is a let down. You cant see the back of the stand itself, just a pink wall that belongs to the adjacent hospital that is in desperate need of a repaint and/or cleaning up. The unusual floodlights on top of each end are a nice touch, and all in all it’s a good ground with plenty of character.

After making sure I'd seen everything, including a brisk walk down to the allotments, I went back into town to find somewhere to eat, before meeting some friends in the pub. Eventually we ended up in the Moon Under Water in the High Street, which was packed with both sets of fans, who drank together without a sign of trouble. The beer wasn’t the best, having obviously been watered down, but after having a few nonetheless, we left the pub at about 2:40pm and walked back to the ground, finding our seats just before kick off.
The game got started and there was soon some bad news with the home side taking the lead after 5 minutes. Undeterred, with Glenn Hoddle on the touchline for the first time we fought back and dominated the rest of the first half, with Seyi George Olofinjana scoring a nice volley after the ball had come out from a scramble in the box following a corner in the 35th minute. We had a few chances to take the lead before half-time, but went into the break with the scores still level.

Unfortunately, despite the first half being quite exciting, the second half was the opposite, turning into a fairly dour game, with neither team looking like they would seriously threaten the goal. Watford had the better of the second 45 minutes, but the final score of 1-1 was fair in the end, although a bit disappointing seeing as we had hoped for more from the new managers first game in charge. The only real incident of note in the second half was the fog settling down around the ground, which made the Rookery Stand at the opposite end pretty gloomy in the distance, if it had come down much more then there may even have been the possibility of it being abandoned, but it never got that bad unfortunately!

It was somewhat surprising to hear the attendance announced as being only 14,605, with the ground seeming more full than that, there certainly didn’t seem to be a huge amounts of empty seats, us having mostly sold out our allocation. Although despite the seemingly large crowd, there wasn’t a particularly good atmosphere created from either set of fans, although you would have been hard pushed to get excited by the standard of football on display.

Despite this, I left the ground in good spirits and met up with friends again, finding our way back to another pub in the High Street and having a few drinks before going our separate ways back home. There was quite a long wait at the train station, and the journey back wasn’t too good, but I arrived home in one piece having had a fairly good day out.

I can certainly understand why Watford is a likable place, with there being very much a ‘family feel’ around the club, there wasn’t a sign of trouble before or after the game, despite fans freely mixing together, and its one I’ll probably look forward to revisiting at some point in the future, hopefully by then they will have started on the new stand, although by all accounts building work isn’t imminent, which is a shame.


Welcome to Vicarage Road

Rear of the Vicarage Road Stand

Looking down Occupation Road and the rear of the East Stand

One of the footbridges from the Occupation Road Turnstiles to the stand

Rear of the Rookery Stand (and the famous allotments)

Rear of the Rookery Stand

The Club Shop

Entrance to the Sir Stanley Rous Stand

Rear of the Sir Stanley Rous Stand

The Rookery Stand

The East Stand

The Vicarage Road Stand

The Sir Stanley Rous Stand

The East Stand

The Rookery Stand

The Sir Stanley Rous Stand

Vicarage Road Panoramic 1

Vicarage Road Panoramic 2


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