We have been looking back through the Watford Observer archives and here are some of the stories that were making the headlines ten and five years ago this week.


Did you see the Rickmansworth tornado?

A “tornado” formed in the skies over Rickmansworth, surprising residents and onlookers.

The swirling mass was seen at 4.30pm on Saturday afternoon, but has since been demoted to a “funnel-cloud” by the Met Office, as it didn't touch the ground.

The cloud passed so close Darren Jenkinson's Thellusson Way home that he managed to film and photograph it rotating above him.

Hornets expect Sarries decision by September

Watford expect to know whether Saracens will be staying at Vicarage Road by September 3 despite the rugby club's chief executive suggesting a decision may not be made until the following month.

Sarries chief executive Edward Griffiths was previously quoted as saying a final decision on the club's long-term future may not be made until October but the Hornets expect a decision in two weeks time.

Watford activated a break clause in the two clubs' agreement at the end of May, which meant that the Men in Black would leave the ground at the end of this season unless a new lease was agreed.

The Hornets agreed to Sarries' request for another three months to consider their options at the time and Watford's chief executive is expecting to find out whether the rugby club are staying after Saracens' board meeting on Friday, September 3.

Tributes to 'inspirational' headmaster

Watford Observer:

More than 300 people will celebrate the life of a popular headteacher whose “zest for life” and passion for history inspired generations of pupils at Watford Grammar School for Boys.

Neil Hart, 74, from Parkside Drive, spent his whole 35-year career at the school, becoming headmaster for 12 months before his retirement in 1994.

He later became chairman of governors at Chater Infant School However, after treatment for a brain tumour in November last year, he fell ill again in May this year. He passed away at University College Hospital, London, on August 9.


Neighbours left frustrated after latest road problems in Barton Way, Croxley Green

Watford Observer:

Movement underneath a busy road will force a construction company to repair the same stretch of road for the fourth time in two months.

A section of the ground underneath the newly installed drain pipes in Barton Way, Croxley Green, is moving and this means the county council contractor Ringway will need to repair the road again.

The street, which is a major bus route, was initially closed for three weeks between Monday, May 18 and Tuesday, June 9, as Ringway improved the drains under the road surface to prevent future flooding.

Just weeks after the work was finished, sections of the road started collapsing and one neighbour said a hole appeared within two days of the work being completed.

But while repairing the collapsing road, the firm disturbed a manhole cover and returned a week later to fix the problem.

Now the construction firm has admitted it will need to need to fix the road again after the ground starting moving “metres below” the newly installed pipes.

Balotelli's name has never been mentioned at Watford, says Flores

Watford Observer:

Photo: Action Images

Quique Sanchez Flores says Mario Balotelli has not been discussed at any point as a potential transfer target for Watford.

Reports in Italy on Monday stated the Hornets were planning to make a move for the Liverpool striker, who is currently training away from the Reds first-team.

We reported on Tuesday that there were no truth in the rumours and speaking as his pre-match press conference this morning Flores confirmed that is the case.

“Inside the club we haven’t spoken at any moment about Mario Balotelli,” the Golden Boys head coach said.

“It [Balotelli joining] is more a possibility in the media than at the club. I promise that I haven’t said a word about Balotelli with any member of the club.”

Save the Red Lion campaign may have to raise £1.1m

People looking to save the Red Lion pub in Vicarage Road could have to raise £1.1million to buy it back.

Campaigners, including councillors, residents, a Watford brewery and the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), have launched a bid to get the premises listed as an Asset of Community Value (ACV) - which would give them up to six months to raise the cash.

In a meeting this week, they discussed a potential business plan and decided to produce a questionnaire to give to residents in the surrounding area.

Chairman Andrew Vaughan, from CAMRA, said they wanted to engage the community and ensure those who invest in the business have a stake in it.

He said: "The initial figure from the developer is £1.1 million. We don't know what we will have to pay in the end, I would hope we could get the initial asking price down a bit. It's very early days.

"Our main concern is getting the ACV, which will give us six months to raise the money."