Boreham Wood v Watford,
Wednesday 5 July 2023, 19:30,
Meadow Park, Pre-Season Friendly

Pre-season kicks off as the Wood host local Championship side Watford, at Meadow Park for the first fixture of our busy upcoming pre-season. After narrowly missing out on the National League Playoff Final last season, the Wood look to build on from last season and aim for promotion once again.

 IN FOCUS: WATFORD FC

“Watford Rovers” were established in 1881 with the Club dropping “Rovers” from its name 18 years later. Winners of the Southern League in 1915, it would take until 1920 for the Hornets to join the Football League. Yo-yoing between the Third and Fourth Divisions, it wasn’t until the takeover by lifelong fan and musician Elton John in 1976, that Watford began to rise. A year later, the late Graham Taylor OBE was appointed manager and over the next decade, success followed with promotion in his first season.Rising from the Fourth to the First Division, the Hornets also competed in the UEFA Cup and reached the FA Cup Final in 1984. After financial hardship in the early 2000’s, they’ve had two stints in the Premier League between 2006/07 and 2015-2020. They played in the FA Cup final in 2019, losing to Manchester City 6-0.

 2022-23 SEASON REVIEW

Starting the summer with the hopes of returning to the Premier League after their relegation in the previous season, the Hornets were unbeaten in their first 5 games of the season, winning two and drawing three. That was to be the longest run without a loss the club would have for the rest of the season. Their poor form it resulted in the departure of Rob Edwards after only 10 games. Slaven Bilic was appointed head coach to turn around results. With 6 wins in his first 10, it was positive signs from the heavily experienced coach. However, his tenure was to last only 24 league games, after a run of one win in 7. Bilic was replaced by Chris Wilder in March. With the chance of making the play-offs slim at his arrival, they ended the season with a record of 16-15-15 (W-D-L), missing out by six points. Watford finished the 2022/23 season 11th in the Championship.

Top goal scorers: João Pedro (11), IsmaÏla Sarr (10) and Keinan Davis (7)

SUMMER TRANSFER WINDOW

As of 4 July 2023:
Players In: Tom Ince, Rhys Healey, and Matheus Martins.
Players Out: João Pedro, Domingos Quina, Britt Assombalonga, Mario Gaspar, Leandro Bacuna, Craig Cathcart, Tom Cleverley, Hassane Kamara, and Henrique Araujo.

IN THE DUGOUT: VALERIN ISMAEL

Valérien Ismaël was appointed the manager of Watford FC on 10 May 2023, after the departure of Chris Wilder from Vicarage Road. As a player, Valérien was a decorated defender winning the Coupe de France with Strasbourg and achieving the German league and cup double with two different clubs. Werder Bremen in 2004 and Bayern Munich in 2006. After retiring, Valerien became the manager of Hannover 96’s second XI. He continued to manage in Europe with successful spells at VFL Wolfsburg and LASK until he took up the chance to manage in England with the likes of Barnsley and West Brom. His final appointment before his move to Vicarage Road in May was with Turkish giants Beşiktaş.

ONE TO WATCH: ISMAÏLA SARR

The Senegalese winger joined the Hornets for a club record fee of €30 million from Rennes in the summer of 2019. Since then, he has played 128 times, scoring 34 goals for the club, with 10 in the Premier League across two seasons. Primarily a right-winger, he can play across the attack but is most effective getting in behind the defenders with his lightning pace. A confident ball carrier with an eye for goal, Sarr is notable for his transitions and understands where the space is behind, where he can exploit the defense. Once he’s past the defender, it’s unlikely they will recover. His most notable game was his performance in the 3-0 victory against Liverpool in 2020 at Vicarage Road to stop the then-unbeatable Reds with two goals and a major part in the third for Troy Deeney to finish things off.

HAVEN’T WE MET BEFORE?

Thursday 24 July 2014, Meadow Park
Boreham Wood 0-1 Watford

Watford had to rely on a solitary Matej Vydra goal to see off the Wood in a pre-season friendly in 2014. The Hornets dominated most of the match with Vydra hitting the post early on. The Czech striker always looked likely to be the difference between the two sides, and it was no surprise when his 68th-minute shot found its way into the back of the net via a deflection.Although the Wood side had a couple of chances to equalise towards the end, Watford were able to hold out for the victory.

TICKET INFO

Ticket price:
Adult Ticket- £15
OAP Ticket- £15
Under 18 Ticket- £10
Under 12 Ticket- £5
Under 5 Ticket- £2

Buy Tickets Here

Bundle price:
Adult Home Pre-Season 5 Match Ticket- £50
OAP Home Pre-Season 5 Match Ticket- £50
Under 18 Home Pre-Season 5 Match Ticket- £30
Under 12 Pre-Season 5 Match Ticket- £15
Under 5 Pre-Season Match Ticket- £5

Buy Bundles Here

OUR CLUB. OUR TOWN. OUR COMMUNITY.

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