The five best Watford managers of all time featuring Graham Taylor

Watford fans before the match

We pick five of Watford's best managers of all time.

Harry Kent (1910-1926) W 187 D 121 L 176

Watford’s second manager in their history is also their long-serving manager of all time.

Kent joined Watford as a player in 1909 and the defender would continue playing for three years after taking the managerial job in 1910.

Under tight financial restraints, Kent enjoyed a lot of success plucking bargains from the non-league clubs in the East Midlands, and his astute approach helped guide the Hornets to a remarkable turnaround in fortunes.

Just a year after surviving relegation on the final day of the 1913/4 season, Kent produced a side which pipped Reading to become the Southern League Champions. A tremendous achievement in any era of football.

After undertaking the additional responsibility of club secretary for the final two years of his career (without any pay-rise), Kent retired from football and became landlord of the Wellington Arms until his death in 1948.

William Findlay (1937-1947) W 50 D 25 L 39

Like Kent, Findlay was also a Watford player when he assumed the managerial position.The wing-half had spells with Mussleburgh Bruntonians, Third Lanark and Liverpool before joining Watford in 1932.

He took charge in 1937, and would go on to lead the club through the whole of the Second World War. During this difficult time, the tactically minded Findlay helped Watford maintain their place as one of the best sides in Division Three.

He passed away just two years after leaving the club.

Ken Furphy (1964-1971) W 115 D 79 L 101

After leading Workington to their first and only Football League promotion, player-manager Furphy made the move to Watford in 1964.

Furphy earned a reputation for his emphasis on defensive organisation, discipline and hard work. And it proved effective as Watford won their first ever promotion to Division Two. Furphy’s men followed up this achievement a year later by reaching the club’s first ever FA Cup semi-final.

Furphy went on to manage at a higher level with Blackburn Rovers and Sheffield United, before he was tempted to take to a job in the North American Soccer League. Notably, when Furphy was in charge of the New York Cosmos he had Brazilian legend Pele in his side.

Graham Taylor (1977-87 and 1996-2001) W 262 D 150 L 192

Taylor oversaw a golden period in the club’s history to cement his place as the club’s best manager of all time.

After leading Lincoln City to the Division Four title, Taylor was headhunted by Watford Chairman Elton John to drop back into the division and take the Hertfordshire side forward.

Over the next ten years, Taylor would transform the club with his exciting style on the pitch and build a lasting family ethos off the field. Taylor’s incredible achievements saw him take Watford from the fourth tier of English football up to second place in the First Division. He also reached the club’s first and only FA Cup final in 1984.

After a spell in charge of the England National team, Taylor returned to Vicarage Road and helped bring top flight football back to the club with successive promotions, before retiring in 2001.

Aidy Boothroyd (2005-2008) W 51 D 48 L 53

Boothroyd may not have been Watford’s most fashionable manager but his achievements on a shoestring budget were undeniably impressive.

Taking the job at the age of 34, Boothroyd revived a Watford side languishing at the bottom end of the Championship. His direct style of play and shrewd recruitment saw him build a side that won promotion in his first full season in charge.

Boothroyd didn’t have the budget or players to compete in the Premier League but his rapid turnaround of the club’s fortunes gives him a strong claim for Watford’s best manager in recent years.

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