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Vicarage Road

Vicarage Road

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Vicarage Road, a stadium
Stadium
A modern stadium is a place or venue for outdoor sports, concerts, or other events and consists of a field or stage either partly or completely surrounded by a structure designed to allow spectators to stand or sit and view the event.)Pausanias noted that for about half a century the only event...

 in Watford
Watford
Watford is a town and borough in Hertfordshire, England, situated northwest of central London and within the bounds of the M25 motorway. The borough is separated from Greater London to the south by the urbanised parish of Watford Rural in the Three Rivers District.Watford was created as an urban...

, Hertfordshire
Hertfordshire
Hertfordshire is a ceremonial and non-metropolitan county in the East region of England. The county town is Hertford.The county is one of the Home Counties and lies inland, bordered by Greater London , Buckinghamshire , Bedfordshire , Cambridgeshire and...

, England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, is the home of the football club Watford
Watford F.C.
Watford Football Club is an English professional football club based in Watford, Hertfordshire. It is often referred to as Watford F.C., Watford, or by the team's nickname The Hornets . Watford Rovers, Founded in 1881, entered the FA Cup for the first time in 1886, and the Southern League a decade...

 and their tenants, the Saracens
Saracens F.C.
Saracens are a professional rugby union team based in St. Albans, England – although they play their home games at Vicarage Road, in Watford. They are currently members of the Aviva Premiership, the top level of domestic rugby union in England...

 rugby union
Rugby union
Rugby union, often simply referred to as rugby, is a full contact team sport which originated in England in the early 19th century. One of the two codes of rugby football, it is based on running with the ball in hand...

 club. An all-seater stadium, its current capacity is 17,477.

History


It has been the home of Watford since 1922, when the club moved from a ground on Watford's Cassio Road. The ground was officially opened by Col. Charles Healey of Benskins Brewery for the visit of Millwall
Millwall F.C.
Millwall Football Club is an English professional football club based in South Bermondsey, south east London, that plays in the Football League Championship, the second tier of English football. Founded as Millwall Rovers in 1885, the club has retained its name despite having last played in the...

 on 30 August 1922. In addition to being Watford's home since opening, the stadium was also home to Wealdstone F.C.
Wealdstone F.C.
Wealdstone Football Club are an English semi-professional football club who formed in Wealdstone, in the London Borough of Harrow, but are currently based a few miles away in Ruislip, in the London Borough of Hillingdon. At present, the club are members of the Isthmian League Premier Division. They...

 between 1991 and 1993, and to rugby union side Saracens since 1997. After purchasing the freehold of the stadium from Benskins in January 2002, Watford's financial situation forced them to sell and lease back the stadium later that year. However, after a campaign entitled 'Let's Buy Back The Vic' with donations coming from fans, as well as celebrity former owner Elton John
Elton John
Sir Elton Hercules John, CBE, Hon DMus is an English rock singer-songwriter, composer, pianist and occasional actor...

 donating the entire proceeds of a concert held at the venue, the club was able to repurchase the stadium in September 2004.

Vicarage Road Stand


The Vicarage Road Stand was built following the conclusion of the 1992–93 season. Previously an open terrace, the all-seater stand was built to comply with the Taylor Report
Taylor Report
The Hillsborough Stadium Disaster Inquiry report, better known as the Taylor Report is a document, whose development was overseen by Lord Taylor of Gosforth, concerning the aftermath and causes of the Hillsborough disaster in 1989. An interim report was published in August 1989, and the final...

 and raise the standard of the ground. It cost £2.3 million to build and has a capacity of 5,800 people. Construction was largely funded by the £1.2m sale of Bruce Dyer
Bruce Dyer
Bruce Antonio Dyer is an English former footballer who played as a striker.His career started in 1993 with Watford, before he became the country's first £1 million-teenager when he joined Crystal Palace in 1994. He spent five years with Palace, playing more than 100 games, and then another...

 in 1994.

Originally a mere earth bank when the club moved to the ground, it was gradually transformed into a conventional terrace. In 1978, an electronic scoreboard was put up, which became an iconic symbol of Watford's eighties heyday. In a display of solidarity with the home support, Graham Taylor maintained that the benches for the coaching staff and substitute on the side of the pitch would remain exposed to the elements until such time as the home end was covered.

Its final game as a terrace was a 1–0 loss to Oxford United
Oxford United F.C.
Oxford United Football Club is an English association football club based in Oxford, Oxfordshire. The club play in League Two, following promotion from the Conference National in May 2010. The club had been a non-League side since their relegation from the Football League in the 2005–06 season. The...

 on 8 May 1993. It opened to the public once more on September 18 1993, with Watford defeating Notts County
Notts County F.C.
Notts County Football Club are an English professional football club based in Nottingham. They are the oldest of all the clubs in the world that are now professional, having been formed in 1862. They currently play in League One of The Football League, the third tier of the English football system...

 3–1.

Previously the home stand, it now houses the away support. A partition was subsequently added, meaning that both home and away support could be put in the stand. Half of the stand is given to away fans, and the other half is used as the family area for home fans. It also houses wheelchair supporters of both teams.

The Rookery Stand


At present the newest part of the stadium, the Rookery Stand was built over the course of the 1994–95 season
1994-95 in English football
-Premiership:Blackburn Rovers ended their 81-year wait for the league title thanks to the strike partnership of Alan Shearer and Chris Sutton which scored a total of more than 50 league goals. Manchester United would have made it three league titles in a row if they had been able to turn a 1-1 draw...

. Another former terrace, the all-seater Rookery stand has a capacity of 6,960. Larger than the Vicarage Road stand, it has facilities on two levels. It also holds most of the club's administrative areas, along with the club shop, which was moved to its current location in November 2005 from a site on Vicarage Road. The stand cost £1.6 million to build, approximately £300,000 of this figure was contributed by the Football Trust, with the remaining money coming from the £2.3m sale of Paul Furlong
Paul Furlong
Paul Furlong is an English professional footballer, currently playing for St Albans City in a player/coach role.-Career:...

 by then-owner Jack Petchey
Jack Petchey
Jack Petchey CBE is a businessman, now involved in many charitable enterprises. He was born and brought up in the East End of London. During the second world war, he served in the Royal Navy, and used his Navy discharge pay to start a car hire and car sales business. This grew into a business...

 in 1994.

When Watford moved from Cassio Road, this end of the ground featured a roof over a cinder bank, and over the years the roof eventually had to be removed for safety reasons. The Supporters' Club eventually raised funds to enable the Rookery End to feature concrete terracing under cover, and this aim was realised in 1959.

The new stand, replacing the 1959 model was used by Watford supporters for the first time on 22 April 1995, for the visit of Bristol City
Bristol City F.C.
Bristol City Football Club is one of two football league clubs in Bristol, England . They play at Ashton Gate, located in the south-west of the City...

. As part of redevelopment work in conjunction with the Watford Health Campus, 164 units of affordable housing, known locally as The Wrap, were built on and around the Rookery end. Construction finished in 2009.

The Rookery is the "home end," containing the noisier Watford fans and noticeably more electric atmosphere. It lends its name to the Watford fan's podcast, From The Rookery End. The stand is known as the Rover South for Saracens matches.

The Rous Stand


The Rous Stand — named after former FIFA
FIFA
The Fédération Internationale de Football Association , commonly known by the acronym FIFA , is the international governing body of :association football, futsal and beach football. Its headquarters are located in Zurich, Switzerland, and its president is Sepp Blatter, who is in his fourth...

 president Sir Stanley Rous
Stanley Rous
Sir Stanley Ford Rous, CBE was the 6th President of FIFA, serving from 1961 to 1974. He also served as secretary of the Football Association from 1934 to 1962 and was an international referee.-Early Life:...

 — runs along the side of the pitch, on the west side of the ground. It is a two-tiered stand, with executive boxes and a TV camera gantry.

Built in 1986, it replaced the Shrodells Stand. The £3 million development was partly funded via a loan from Elton John
Elton John
Sir Elton Hercules John, CBE, Hon DMus is an English rock singer-songwriter, composer, pianist and occasional actor...

. The upper tier, complete with executive boxes, was constructed first, and temporary seats forming a lower-tier were added later. These were later replaced with permanents seats, first used for a game against Notts County
Notts County F.C.
Notts County Football Club are an English professional football club based in Nottingham. They are the oldest of all the clubs in the world that are now professional, having been formed in 1862. They currently play in League One of The Football League, the third tier of the English football system...

 on 18 September 1993.

When the club moved from Cassio Road in 1922, the Union Stand was transported and reconstructed on this side of the ground. It was replaced by the Shrodells Stand, which was constructed during the 1930s. It was extended in 1979 with a further 2,200 seats replacing the standing enclosure in front of the stand.

The final match for the Shrodells Stand was against Manchester United
Manchester United F.C.
Manchester United Football Club is an English professional football club, based in Old Trafford, Greater Manchester, that plays in the Premier League. Founded as Newton Heath LYR Football Club in 1878, the club changed its name to Manchester United in 1902 and moved to Old Trafford in 1910.The 1958...

 on 3 May 1986, the new Rous Stand opened on 23 August 1986, when Oxford United visited Vicarage Road, with Watford coming out 3–0 winners.

The Upper Rous is well known amongst Hornets fans for being the most sedate part of the ground.

The Main Stand(s)



The Main Stand sits on the east side of the ground, and contains the changing rooms, tunnel, director's box and press area. The eldest stand of the four, the Main Stand contains the only part of the original stadium built at Vicarage Road still standing.

Constructed in 1922 as Watford moved from Cassio Road to the present ground, the stand was included as part of the stadium constructed with the financial help of Benskins' breweries, who initially handed the land to the football club on a 21-year lease. The construction cost was approximately £7,000.

In 1969 a new extension to the main stand was constructed. The extension added approximately 1,700 seats to the East side of the ground. Seats were added to the terrace in front of the original main stand in 1982 to create the club's family enclosure, and capacity was further increased with the addition of uncovered seats towards the Vicarage Road end of the stadium around the same time.

In 2004, parts of the stand were closed, after they were deemed unfit for use. The club are drawing up plans — originally shelved after 2002's financial crisis — to redevelop the stand, along with making considerable developments to the Rous Stand. This scheme is in conjunction with Watford General Hospital, whose site runs alongside the Rous. In 2010, the 88 year-old Main Stand was dismantled, leaving just the 1969 extension remaining on the east side of the stadium.

Floodlights


The first game under floodlights
Floodlights (sport)
Floodlights are broad-beamed, high-intensity artificial lights often used to illuminate outdoor playing fields while an outdoor sports event is being held during low-light conditions....

at Vicarage Road was played in 1953, when lights were installed on top of the Main Stand. These were replaced in 1960, with four pylons being built in the corners of the ground. Currently the floodlights are mounted on the top of the Vicarage Road and Rookery Stands.