Friday, 11 January 2008

Watford FC by numbers

Wick. Then Weymouth. Now Wolves. Off to Watford next. Spot a trend? What are the chances of fate sending me to watch Walsall, Wigan or West Ham next?

Anyway, a long way to go before that. In the meantime, time for a quick look at Watford FC, my destination on Saturday 26th January 2008. It's a numbers game:

1881 The year that Watford were founded. They first played at Cassio Road before eventually moving to Vicarage Road in 1922, where they have remained.

4 The number of times that Watford have met Wolverhampton Wanderers in the FA Cup, most recently in 1992-93 when Wolves ran out 4-1 victors at Watford.

1 The number of times Watford have beaten Wolverhampton Wanderers in the FA Cup. Back in 1979-80 it finished Wolves 0, Watford 3 in the Fifth Round.

4 The number of times Watford have reached the semi-final of the FA Cup.

1 The number of times Watford have won an FA Cup semi-final tie. In 1984 they knocked out Plymouth Argyle in the semi before going on to meet Everton at Wembley, losing 2-0. Much to the pleasure of Watford fans, their cup run that year started with a victory over local rivals Luton Town, winning 4-3 after extra time in a replay at Vicarage Road.

26 The number of managers Watford have had. Len Goulden and Neil McBain have both had two spells in charge. Graham Taylor has done it three times (1977-1987, 1996 and 1997 to 2001). The current incumbent is Aidy Boothroyd who took over tenure in March 2005. Other famous names at the helm have included Dave Bassett (hasn't he managed every single club?), Steve Perryman, Glen Roeder and Gianluca Vialli, the latter being Watford's only ever non-British boss.

31 Number of England appearances by the most capped Watford player. That honour goes to John Barnes. And I promise not to mention that goal against Brazil.

415 Number of league appearance by a Watford legend Luther Blissett between 1976 and 1992. He turned out 503 times in all competitions and is the club's highest goalscorer with 186 goals. Blissett had three separate spells at Watford and also played for Bournemouth and AC Milan. In football circles, he was last spotted managing Chesham United.

48 Record number of goals scored in one season by Cliff Holton. That was in season 1959-60.

2000 The year that Harry the Hornet won the "Mascot Grand National" at Huntingdon Racecourse. Watford are nicknamed "The Hornets", presumably because of their yellow and black clubs colours. On 28 August 1998 Harry the Hornet got married to Harriet the Hornet before a game against Wolves. Spot the tenuous link? The best man that day was Wolfie, the Wolves mascot.

2 The highest league position attained by the club. Under Graham Taylor's guidance, Watford finished second behind Liverpool in their first ever season in the First Division (1982-83). More recently, Watford were relegated from the Premiership at the end of last season. They currently occupy one of the automatic promotion slots in the Championship, level on points with West Bromwich Albion and Bristol City.

1 The number of times Watford have ventured into Europe. They competed in the UEFA cup in 1983. In the first round they scored a famous victory over Kaiserslautern winning the home leg 3-0 after losing in Germany 3-1 in the first leg. They went on to beat Levski Spartak before succumbing to Sparta Prague in the Third Round.

250,000,000+ The number of albums sold by Reginald Kenneth Dwight. And over 100 million singles. Elton John to you and me. He is Watford's life long president and probably one of the most famous faces down at Vicarage Road. He can sing a bit as well. You might have heard of him.

And one final FA Cup fact about Watford. Their heaviest ever defeat was in the FA Cup in 1912, losing 10-0. Their opponents? Wolverhampton Wanderers.

I'm guessing that the game in a couple of weeks will be a lot closer, but then what do I know? What do you think the result will be? I have put up another poll (just under the FA Cup picture, above right). The result will give me some more numbers to digest...

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