The death of Watford’s greatest ever manager, the redevelopment of a Benskins brewery site, a landmark for a Hornets defender and claims the town centre is ‘out of control’ at night were among the stories making the headlines in the Watford Observer five and ten years ago this week.


Legendary Watford manager Graham Taylor dies

Watford was in mourning following the death of the Hornets’ greatest ever manager Graham Taylor.

Watford Observer:

Tributes outside Vicarage Road. Picture: Holly Cant

The 72-year-old, who led the club from the Fourth Division to second in Division One, into Europe and to their first FA Cup Final, and then returned to secure back-to-back promotions to the Premier League, passed away on Thursday, January 12.

Countless tributes were paid from the world of football and beyond as fans began to gather outside Vicarage Road to lay flowers, scarves and flowers in memory of the man who played such a pivotal role in making Watford the first family club.

Watford Observer:

The Hornets players pay tribute. Picture: Holly Cant

Club staff, players and supporters held a minute’s applause prior to Watford’s game with Middlesbrough two days later.

The build-up to the top-flight clash was dominated by chants of "One Graham Taylor" from all four sides of the ground, and a "GT" foil display was unveiled covering the whole of the Rookery End.

Watford Observer:

A montage of some of the projects 

This is what Watford will look like in 10 years

Watford is rapidly changing with cranes dominating the skyline.

The town has a number of exciting projects under way or planned that will completely transform it over the next decade - costing more than £1.5 billion.

There are hugely ambitious projects in the pipeline from the £150 million scheme to redevelop Charter Place to the six million pound scheme to restore Cassiobury Park.

Other plans include the Metropolitan Line Extension and the Watford Health Campus.

Watford Observer:

The St Albans Road site

Former Benskins brewery building to become flats

The site of a former Victorian brewery will be transformed to provide new flats after planning permission was granted.

The building and yard at 147 St Albans Road were originally used a brewery, opened by Samuel Roate in 1848 before being bought out by Benskins in 1898.

Production at the brewery ceased many years ago, and the building now consists of two one-bedroom flats at first floor level, and a vacant ground floor and lower ground floor commercial unit.

Under the plans drawn up by DTP Planning on behalf of Cassiobury Developments Ltd, the existing building which will be converted and extended to provide three further properties.

Another building will be erected in the adjoining yard to provide another five flats.


Councillors deny police claim that Watford is ‘out of control’ at night

Politicians have played down fears that Watford town centre’s nightlife is getting out of control due to the number of licensed premises.

During a licensing committee meeting, councillors defended the town’s night time economy, saying they had to find a balance to keep residents safe while also supporting the pubs, bars and clubs during the recession.

Councillor Jan Brown, who chaired the meeting, said: “We are all aware that it is a very delicate balancing act in the town centre. The town and the people in it do want a good night out and the town needs the money the clubs and pubs bring in.”

Liberal Democrat councillor for the Park ward George Derbyshire added: “A lot of people work in the night time economy as well as the people who enjoy and take advantage of it.”

The debate comes after a month after a Watford police sergeant wrote to councillors in charge of licensing saying his officers were struggling to cope with town centre disorder.

Watford Observer:

Lloyd Doyley. Picture: Action Images

'The glue which holds Watford together'

Sean Dyche described Lloyd Doyley as “the glue which holds Watford together” after the defender became just the 12th player in the club’s history to make 350 appearances.

Doyley made his professional debut in September 2001 as an 18-year-old after progressing through the club's academy.

Saturday's 4-2 victory over Bradford was his 318th start and 350th appearance in total.

Watford manager Dyche played alongside Doyley for three years, coached the defender and is now his manager.

“I played with him when he was a young man and now I am so old I have to keep reminding him that it was me who taught him everything he knows,” Dyche joked.

“People like Lloyd are the glue that hold this club together. He is a fantastic person who does a great job for us.”

Watford road is one of most crime-ridden streets in England

A Watford road has been named fourth in a poll of the top 50 worst crime streets in England.

Albert Road South, off High Street, was among the list of roads with the highest number of crimes recorded in them throughout November.

Police were called to deal with 115 incidents in the small street, home to Oceana nightclub and supermarkets Sainsbury’s and Iceland. The number was not far short of the ‘worst’ in the UK - Surrey Street in Portsmouth - where police dealt with 138 incidents.

Bushey High Street also featured in the table, compiled by national newspaper The People this week, where 64 crimes were reportedly committed.