Remembering Watford FC’s four previous promotions to the top flight
Premier League football will be returning to Vicarage Road next season after Watford clinched promotion with a 1-0 victory over Millwall on Saturday.
Although the Hornets have been in the top division, or knocking on the door to get there, for the majority of the Pozzo era, this is only the fifth time in the club’s 140-year history they have made it to the pinnacle of the English game.
Apart from a three-season stay in Division Two from 1969 to 1972, Watford’s history had been spent in the lower reaches of the football pyramid. But that was to change after Elton John persuaded a young manager named Graham Taylor to swap Lincoln City’s Sincil Bank for Vicarage Road and they set about creating one of football’s great fairytales.
Following consecutive promotions from Division Four to Division Two, the Hornets spent three seasons in the second tier before, on Tuesday, May 4, 1982, Wrexham were beaten 2-0 at Vicarage Road in front of a crowd of 20,028 at Vicarage Road to secure promotion to the top division for the first time in the club’s history.
The remarkable story was to continue as Hornets finished as Football League runners-up, qualified for Europe and reached a first FA Cup Final.
The top-flight adventure was to last for six years, but it came to an end in 1988 after Taylor had left for Aston Villa at the end of the previous season. It was to take another 11 years for Watford to return to the top flight thanks to the club’s greatest ever manager working his magic once again.
Taylor made a triumphant return to the Vicarage Road dugout in 1997 and guided Watford to the Division Two title. But the prospects of back-to-back promotions were fading fast until the Hornets put together a great end-of-season run, winning seven of their last eight games to qualify for the play-offs.
Following a nerve-shredding victory on penalties over Birmingham City in the semi-finals, thousands of Hornets fans flocked to Wembley Stadium on Monday, May 31, 1999 to watch Nick Wright score a stunning overhead kick before Allan Smart added a late second goal to fire their side to a 2-0 victory over Bolton Wanderers and into the Premier League for the first time.
The stay was to last only one season, but in 2006 the Hornets were to be celebrating promotion to the top table of the English game for a third time – and again it came courtesy of a play-off success, this time in Cardiff.
Aidy Boothroyd’s side finished third in the regular season to secure their place in the end-of-season mini promotion competition, which side the Hornets beat Crystal Palace 3-0 over two legs to earn a trip to the Millennium Stadium.
Leeds United stood in Watford’s way but the outcome was rarely in doubt once Jay DeMerit headed his side in front midway through the first half. A Neil Sullivan own goal and a late Darius Henderson penalty completed the triumph.
Again, Watford were to be relegated the following year, but six years ago yesterday Slavisa Jokanovic became only the second manager or head coach in Watford’s history to secure automatic promotion to the top division following a 2-0 victory at Brighton & Hove Albion.
Like this season, the Hornets put together a great run in the second half of the season to get themselves in contention for a top-two finish and goals from Troy Deeney and Matej Vydra secured the points on the south coast in the lunchtime kick-off.
Players and fans alike then watched on as results went in Watford’s favour later in the day, confirming the Golden Boys were heading back to the big time.
It was the start of another very successful period in the club’s history as the Hornets remained in the Premier League for five seasons and reached a second FA Cup final.
Fans will be hoping top-flight promotion number five is the prelude for more great memories to be made in the top tier of the English game.
Stay connected with us on social media platform for instant update click here to join our Twitter, & Facebook
We are now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@TechiUpdate) and stay updated with the latest Technology headlines.
For all the latest Health News Click Here
For the latest news and updates, follow us on Google News.