Historical Football Kits


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Formed 1881

Founder member of Division Three 1920

Kit History




Watford Rovers



1883-1889 h r x E

1889-1890 h r x




West Herts Cricket & Football Club & Ground




Formed when Watford Rovers were absorbed into West Herts Club & Ground

watford fc 1890

1890-1893 s E

watford 1893-97

1893-1897 h q r s




Watford St Mary's



watford rovers 1894-98

1894-1898 z








Formed by the amalgamation of West Herts and Watford St Mary's

watford 1898

1898-1901 q r s

watford 1903-1909

1901-1909 h q s z

watford 1909-10

1909-1910 s

1910-1914 h s

watford fc 1914

1914-1919 h

watford 1919-1920

1919-1921 s A

watford 1921-22

1921-1922 w

watford 1922-23

1922-1924 s

1927-1928 g s B C D

watford fc 1928-29

1928-1929 D

wtford 1935-36

1935-1936 B D

1936-1939 b D

watford fc 1946-47

1946-1947 v D

watford fc 1947

1947-1948 w v D

watford fc 1948-49

Aug-cSept 1948 v D

watford fc 1950

cOct 48-1952 t w v D

watford fc 1949

1952-1955 b p v D

watford fc 1955 august

Aug 1955 v

see notes
watford fc 1955

Sept 55-1956 v

watford fc 1956-57

1956-1957 v

Previous shirts worn in cold weather
watford fc 1957

1957-March 59 p v

watford fc 1959 april-may

April-May 1959 v

watford fc 1959

1959-1961 c v

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watford fc 1961-1962

Oct 61-1962 v

See notes
watford fc april 1962

4 April 1962 v

v Reading
watford fc 1962

Aug-Sept 1962 v

watford fc 1962

Sept 62-March 63 v

watford april 1963

April-May 1963 y

watford fc 1963-64

1963-1964 v

Also worn with last season's shorts/socks
watford fc 1964-65

1964-1965 v

watford 1964-65

Oct 64-1965 a v

Worn alongside plain yellow tops
watford fc august 1965

August 1965 v

Sept 65-April 68 v

watford april 1968

April-May 68 v

watford 1968-69

1968-1969 v

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watford fc 1968

1969-Oct 1971 b d j v

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Nov 1971-1972 o

watford fc 1972

1972-1973 j o

watford 1973-74

1973-Feb 1974 v

watford fc 1973-74

March-May 1974 v

watford fc 1974

1974-1976 e j n u v

watford 1976

1976-1978 e j n v

watford 1977-78

1977-1978 v

76-78 shirts also worn
watford fc 1978-79

1978-1979 v

watford 1979

1979-1982 c e j

watford 1982

1982-1983 c k l


1983-1985 c e k l v

watford fc 1982

1985-1988 c e k l

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1988-1989 k m


1989-1991 c i k m

watford fc 1991

1991-1993 c k l

watford fc 1993

1993-1995 c k l

watford fc 1995

1995-1996 c k l


1996-1997 c k l

watford fc 1997

1997-1998 c k l

Le Coq Sportif
watford fc 1998

1998-1999 c k

Le Coq Sportif

1999-2001 c k l

watford fc 2001

2001-2002 c

watford fc 2002

2002-2003 c


2003-2005 c k

watford fc 2005

2005-2006 f k

watford fc 2006

2006-2007 f k

watford fc 2007

2007-2008 f v

watford 2008-09 home kit

2008-2009 f

watford 2009-10

2009-2010 f

watford 2010-11 home kit

2010-2011 f

watford 2011-12 home kit

2011-2012 f

watford fc 2012-13 home kit

2012-2013 f

watford fc 2013-14 home kit

2013-2014 f

watford 2014-15

2014-2015 f

watford fc 2015-16 kit

2015-2016 f

watford 2016-17 1st kit

2016-2017 f

watford fc 2017-18 1st kit

2017-2018 f

watford fc 2018-19

2018-2019 f

watford 2019-2020 1st kit

2019-2020 f

Buy Replica Football Shirts on Historical Kits website
watford 2020-21

2020-2021 f

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watford fc 2021-22

2021-2022 f

Buy Replica Football Shirts on Historical Kits website
watford fc 2022-23

2022-2023 f

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watford fc 1898The club takes the year of its formation as 1881 when Watford Rovers was formed. in 1890 the club was absorbed into the West Herts Club & Ground to form a football section alongside the other sports supported by the club, which included cricket, tennis and lacrosse.

In 1896, the club joined the Southern League Second Division, turning professional the following year. For a period the town boasted two professional clubs but it quickly became clear that this was not sustainable and in 1898 it was mooted that West Herts and Watford St Mary’s FC merge. It was decided that both teams should complete their fixtures and in May 1898 the FA Council approved the merger and a new name, Watford FC.

The first mention of the club's colours dates from 1888, when their colours were described as blue. Over the next few seasons, press reports researched by Trefor Jones, describe various combinations of olive, scarlet and later orange and yellow or amber and scarlet. More recently (October 2018) Brian Webb discovered a press cutting from September 1889 that describes a match against Caledonians in which the Rovers players wore a variety of shirts including "the discarded light and dark blue." It goes on to say that "the new shirt, when it does appear, is to be in black and two colours, oiley olive and fiery scarlet." It is likely that knickers in various colours were worn at this time.

When the team kicked off as Watford FC in 1898 it was in attractive yellow, red and green vertical stripes. Around the turn of the century, the stripes changed to hoops.

In 1900 Watford won the Southern League Second Division title and in 1915 they won the Southern League championship itself. The hoops had been dropped in 1909 in favour of far more prosaic white shirts and black knickers and in 1914 black and white striped shirts were adopted.

Along with the rest of the Southern league First Division, Watford became founder members of the new Third Division of the Football League in 1920. They made little impression and in 1927, facing serious financial watford fc crest 1927difficulties, a new start was attempted: the club announced that the unpopular "semi-mourning" black and white strip was dropped in favour of blue and white. Their old nickname of "The Brewers," which had never really caught on, was dropped and the team became "The Blues."

The first evidence of a crest comes from 1927 when a simple shield with lettering appeared on Watford's plain white change shirts: it does not seem to have been worn on the first choice jerseys.

It has long been thought that Watford wore turquoise rather than conventional blue at this time. Graham Brack recalls reading an account by a former player who made his debut in 1936 and who mentioned that this unique colour was adopted in an attempt to avoid the expense of having to buy a set of change shirts (it wouldn't). Firm evidence has, however, proved elusive: the Northampton Chronicle & Echo (27 June 1927) notes a change of colour from black and white to turquoise with white collars but this is not from a match report. The colour is also mentioned in the 1934 Football Encyclopedia but this source has been found to be unreliable. Several items of memorabilia such as lapel badges feature turquoise tops and the colour was also given in some match programmes where Watford were the visiting team. In April 2021, Geoff Allen and Neil Dunham submitted definitive evidence to HFK based on hundreds of match reports and over 150 official Watford match programmes from the period that consistently describe the team's colours as royal blue and white. It would appear that the turquoise and white strip is one of those football myths that arise from a single, erroneous source that is repeated in other documents by lazy writers until it becomes accepted as fact.

watford fc crest 1950sIn the seasons preceding the Second World War Watford's performances improved markedly and they finished in fourth place for four consecutive seasons.

After the war, Watford continued to struggle and had to apply for re-election in 1951. watford fc crest 1959The club crest of the period (which did not appear on team shirts) included a hart (male deer), the symbol of Hertfordshire. This motif would be revived much later on.

For the first few matches of the 1955-56 season the first team borrowed a set of Continental jerseys from the junior team before reverting to their heavier ong sleeved shirts when colder weather set in.

In 1959 Watford adopted gold and black along with a revival of the old crest from 1927: the effect was more or less immediate. In 1960 they won promotion to the Third Division where they stayed for nine seasons before winning promotion to Division Two for the first time in 1969. A year later they reached watford fc crest 1968the FA Cup semi-final where they were defeated by Chelsea.

In late October 1961 gold shirts with plain black necks were adopted. The older tops. with the WFC crest and black/gold V necks continued to be used and both styes often appeared in the same match. Long sleeved shirts were worn just once in April 1962 before being passed on the reserves.

The "WFC" badge was dropped in 1962 and for much of the decade the team played in yellow rather than gold shirts with no adornments apart from various trims at collar and cuff, very much the fashion of the watford fc crest 1972period. In 1968, however, in keeping with the new nickname adopted by their supporters' club, a red hornet was embroidered onto the shirts. This seems to have been dropped midway through the 1971-72 season but appeared again, with slightly different lettering, the season after.

A cartoon version watford fc crest 1974known as "Harry the Hornet" was adopted in 1974 but fripperies like this are rarely popular with hard-core supporters and Harry did not last long. Relegations in 1972 and 1975 took Watford back to Division Four.

In 1976 Watford made yet another change in their colours, this time watford fc crest 1978to yellow, red and black. A new crest was introduced in 1978 that featured a hart (although it is frequently but incorrectly identified as the head of a moose). This striking image would serve the club for well over 30 years although there have been subtle design changes along the way.

The arrival of pop star Elton John as chairman in 1977 marked the watford fc crest 1979beginning of a remarkable climb to the top. Graham Taylor was appointed manager and in 1978, “The Hornets” stormed to the Fourth Division title. The following season they reached the semi-finals of the League Cup and won promotion to Division Two.

In 1982 Watford’s dream was realised with promotion to Division One. Against all expectation, they finished in second place behind Liverpool the following season to secure a place in the UEFA Cup. In 1984 they reached the FA Cup final where they lost 0-2 to Everton.

In 1987 Taylor resigned and was replaced by Dave Bassett. Watford were relegated in 1988 and, having narrowly missed promotion in their watford fc centenary crestfirst season, the club struggled. In 1996, Graham Taylor returned as general manager but he could not prevent relegation to Nationwide Division Two (formerly the Third Division).

In 1998 they won the championship and a year later, they beat Bolton Wanderers in the play-off final to earn a place in the Premier watford fc crest 2002League. This time they could not hold on to their status and were relegated the following season, seven points adrift at the foot of the table.

Watford made semi final appearances in the FA Cup (2003) and League Cup (2005) while in the second flight before they unexpectedly beat Leeds United in the play-off final to make another brief return to the Premiership. To mark the occasion, which coincided with their 125th anniversary, the watford fc crest 125 yearsclub adopted a kit featuring red shorts not unlike the one worn in the First Division during the 1980s and a suitably modified crest.

In June 2012 ownership was transferred from Laurence Bassini to the Pozzo family who had previously owned the Italian club, Udinese and three seasons later they won promotion back to the Premier League having finished as runners-up in the Championship.

For the 2018-19 season, striped shirts were introduced, a startling break with tradition. That season the team reached the FA Cup final for only the second time in their history but came up against Manchester City at their peak and on the way to a domestic treble. Their 6-0 defeat equalled the record set in the 1903 final. The following August tradition was also abandoned and a halved shirt was worn during what proved to be a relegation season. Rather than return to their familiar style, an outlandish design from the Spanish sportswear manufacturer Kelme was introduced for their first season back in the Championship. They finished as runners-up and returned to the Premier League at the first time of asking but went straight down again.

You are welcome to Contact Me with corrections and additions.


  • (a) Club Colours (Bob Bickerton 1998)
  • (b) Swindon Town FC - Images of Sport (Richard Mattick 2000)
  • (c) empics
  • (d) Football Focus
  • (e) Classic Kits
  • (f) Watford Official Website
  • (g) The Football Encyclopaedia (Associated Sporting Press 1934)- information provided by Arthur Fergus
  • (h) Trefor Jones - the club's official historian
  • (i) Greg Hattingh
  • (j) Pete's Picture Palace
  • (k) True Colours 2 (John Devlin 2006)
  • (l) David King
  • (m) Pat Heywood
  • (n) Steve Atkinson
  • (o) Alick Milne
  • (q) Watford Junction
  • (r) Wayne Godfrey
  • (s) Sarah Priestley, Heritage Officer, Watford Museum
  • (t) Simon Monks
  • (u) Christopher Worrall
  • (v) Geoff Allen
  • (w) Keith Ellis (HFK Research Associate)
  • (x) Watford Observer (28 September 1889) submitted by Brian Webb.
  • (y) Mick Rollitt
  • (z) Brian Webb
  • (A) Football & the First World War
  • (B) eBay
  • (C) Northampton Chronicle & Echo (27 June 1927) submitted by Greger Lindberg
  • (D) Geoff Allen & Neil Dunham
  • (E) Charles Alcock's Football Annuals 1869-1891 researched by Robin Horton

Crests are the property of Watford FC. Crest artwork provided by Geoff Allen.