Watford Football Club was founded in 1881 as Watford Rovers. The club joined the Football League in 1920, having previously established themselves in the Southern League, winning the title in 1914–15. After joining the Football League, Watford remained outside of the top flight for more than sixty years.
The club's fortunes changed when singer Elton John took over as the club's chairman in 1976 and cited a desire to take the club to the top division. When Graham Taylor was appointed as manager in 1977, Watford were in the fourth division. However, over the course of the next few seasons, Taylor guided the club up the divisions in remarkable fashion. At the end of the 1981–82 season, Watford gained promotion to the top division for the first time in its history.
Major silverware has alluded the club, although during their first season in the top flight, Watford did put up a strong title challenge, eventually finishing in second place. As a result, they qualified for European competition for the first time. In 1984 the side came close to winning silverware once again, making it to the FA Cup final, but ultimately losing 2-0 to Everton in the final. Taylor left to manage Aston Villa in 1987, which brought about an end to this period in the club's history. Most recently, the club returned to the top flight in 2006–07, although they were relegated at the end of that season.
The closest the club has come to a return to the top flight was in 2008 when they lost to Hull City Football Club over 2 legs in the Championship play-off semifinal.
The club's Hall of Fame contains names such as Luther Blissett, John McClelland, Tony Coton and David James. Other noteable former Watford players include Ross Jenkins, John Barnes and Heidar Helguson.
Vicarage Road has served as the club's home since 1922. The all-seater stadium also plays host to the rugby union club, Saracens. Although its capacity was once in excess of 20,000, this was scaled back after safety concerns following the Hillsborough disaster. It currently seats 17,477.