New badge revealed..

WIFC are delighted to reveal an updated club badge to celebrate the 20th birthday of the club…

The new badge..

Replacing the shield badge that’s been used for the last ten years, the design is intended as an evolution of past badges, with the familiar sliding tackle logo, first used in the 1980’s by Watford FC, still present and updated.

We will soon launch a range of t-shirts, shorts and other sporting goods with the new badge, available for all players past and present to order.

WIFC – the first games…

Early May 1997… Tony Blair had just been elected Prime Minister, Princess Diana started knocking around with Dodi Fayed, Channel 5 was launched, Radiohead were about to release their seminal ‘OK Computer’ album while no one, ever, had heard of Kasabian, Brexit, Cheryl Cole, Troy Deeney or WIFC. On one count, that was all about to change.

A year previously, a message was sent to the Watford mailing list, still in it’s own infancy, from a team representing QPR. They had taken part in a tournament called EuroNET ‘96, which was held in Nottingham. Graham Kelly, the then chief of the FA, was publicly sceptical about the ability of English football supporters to behave themselves during the Euro96, so through the use of Email lists and other internet based discussion groups, EuroNET had been organised to prove him wrong.

A game against QPR was organised by a Watford fan called Andy Barnard. Among those who volunteered to play were Aidy Spender and Simon Devon.  The game was due to be played at Wormwood Scrubs around Christmas time, but the weather intervened and the game was called off. Before it had even started, WIFC had died on the vine and the trail went dead until a few months later, when another message was sent to WML asking if Watford were interested in entering a team into EuroNET ‘97.

With Andy Barnard having moved to Tibilisi a new volunteer was required. Aidy was working and living in Essex during a year out from Uni, and he decided to take up the request.  “I basically just mailed saying I was up for trying to put a team together and seeing who else was interested” says a modest Spender. From that small acorn, a mighty oak began to grow and a game against Colchester was arranged with the help of Simon Devon, who sorted a pitch at Hatfield Uni, where he was a student.

Simon Devon’s calendar showing the dates that mattered..

Having suffered a postponement first time round, WIFC were now thwarted by the other bete noire of the amateur football team. “So we all met up and Colchester didn’t show” recalls Devon. “It was no real problem, as it at least meant we could meet each other and learn names this time! Among the people there that day were myself, Aidy, Mowen, Miles Jacobson, Julian Carrera, Paul Labbett, Jon Parry, ‘Dr’ Dave Perahia and Ian Lay.” Those players were to form the nucleus of the team that was entered into EuroNET ’97.

With the tournament looming, games were needed and at the third attempt, WIFC finally got off the ground with a visit to Arsenal on Saturday 18th May 1997. The game was played on an astroturf pitch in Caledonian Road, Holloway and ended in a 1-5 reverse against a side that had been together for a few years by then. Julian Carrera had the honour of scoring the first WIFC goal while the team included those already noted, and also saw the WIFC bow of Pete Fincham, despite a car crash on route the venue.

The first home game soon followed, as QPR travelled over to Hatfield on a windy day. Mowen scored a possibly wind-assisted 30 yarder, but QPR ran out 4-1 winners. WIFC finally notched a win against Fincham’s Sunday side, Headstone. Unfortunately, complete records weren’t kept at the time so the scorers in a 7-4 victory are lost in the addled memories of those involved. With preparations complete, the intrepid WIFC trailblazers set of for Middlesbrough, host of EuroNET ’97, in fine spirits.

The first team picture – WIFC’s trail blazers in the Rookery Stand before Euronet 97..

Changing Places glory for the Internet ‘Orns

WATFORD IFC collected their first silverware since 2013 at a sunny Stadium MK yesterday, with a tournament win in the MKDSA Changing Places Challenge Cup. The 5 team tournament, organised superbly by the MK Dons team, was held to raise funds for a Changing Places facility at the stadium, which will enable disabled people who cannot use standard accessible toilets, such as those with with profound and multiple learning disabilities, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, as well as older people, to enjoy matches at the stadium in comfort.

In the group stages of the 11 a side tournament, WIFC met Northampton first up.. with only 25 mins for each match the emphasis was on taking chances, but the Internet ‘Orns spurned a good number, including three woodwork strikes, before Tommy Twelves smashed home a winner with 2 mins to spare. The second game against the hosts was a more comfortable affair, with an early Twelves goal and a Stu Nicholls penalty securing a second win.

A stout defensive display saw a goal-less draw with Stevenage secured in the third game, with keeper Neil Hall in commanding form and while Twelves and Mark O’Connor both missed chances to make the final group game academic, the feeling in the camp was positive going into the last group game against Crawley needing a point to confirm a place in the final. WIFC duly took all three thanks to a fine 15th goal of the season from Mark O’Connor.

The final saw a re-match with Crawley, who had battled to the final with 11 men standing. Charlie Wood, back from 4 months travelling, opened the scoring with Twelves adding a second. All looked on course until Crawley finally punctured the Internet ‘Orns tournament clean sheet with 10 minutes to play, but any thoughts of a comeback were ended by Twelves straight from the re-start. With Crawley tiring and WIFC able to bring on fresh legs, O’Connor and Ben Kelly gave the scoreline a flattering hue with a goal apiece.

Stand-in manager Dave Messenger was delighted with the team spirit and effort shown throughout the day. “We defended brilliantly across the 125 minutes of football, and every member of the squad contributed to a memorable tournament win” enthused Messenger. “We were clinical in front of goal and kept the ball well all day. Best of all, the day was a huge success and it was great to see over £2000 raised for the MKDSA fund. We wish them all the very best with their future fund-raising for this important cause”

Squad: Neil Hall; Matt Ainsley, Ally Hill, John Sitkowski, David Sitkowski, Warren White, Stuart Nicholls (C), Matt Ball, Dave Messenger; Richard Murphy, Ben Kelly, Tom Davison, John Machin, Vince Machin, Charlie Wood; Tom Beck, Tommy Twelves, Mark O’Connor, Marc Duffy.

W 1-0

MK Dons
W 2-0
Twelves, Nicholls (Pen)

D 0-0

W 1-0

Crawley – Final
W 5-1
Wood, Twelves 2, O’Connor, Kelly