Watford

Watford

The information provided on this page is generated by information supplied by the clubs. Level Playing Field (LPF) cannot be held responsible if the service and provision differs from what is stated on our website. If you have any queries or wish to raise a point please get in touch directly with LPF – info@levelplayingfield.org.uk

Stadium Information

Stadium

Vicarage Road

Address

Vicarage Road Stadium
Vicarage Road
Watford
WD18 0ER

Club / stadium contact for disabled supporters

Name

Jo Simonds

Telephone no.

01923 223023

Disabled Supporters Association

Name

David Butler

Telephone

01923 265577

Email

watfordfcenables@gmail.com

Website address

 

 

Accessibility Information

For UK minimum access standards for new and existing stadia and for good practice guidance please click here.

 

Getting There & Parking

 

There is a club car park with 23 accessible parking spaces for home and away supporters available on a seasonal basis or first come first served basis. Away supporters must reserve with Jo Simonds. Drop of facilities are available.

 

National Rail have published links to the nearest stations to sporting venues including Watford see here for more information.

 

Level Playing Field have not verified the information given and we suggest that you contact the station direct if you have any access requirements.

Getting a Ticket

 

For information on purchasing a ticket please visit the Watford website.

Spectator Viewing areas

 

There are 110 wheelchair user space available at the ground. Home supporters have 82 spaces for wheelchair users available to them, and these can be found at pitchside and on raised platforms around the ground. 28 spaces for wheelchair users can be found on a raised platform in the away section for away supporters. There are 176 'Easy Access and Amenity Seat' available for ambulant disabled supporters at the ground.

 

NB: Under existing minimum standards for accessible stadia, the club should have 150 wheelchair spaces (127 home and up to 23 away). 75% of these should be elevated positions and the remaining 25% pitchside.

 

LPF's view is that many disabled supporters should be able to access general seating areas and only those with specific needs eg those who require extra legroom, or access via aisle seats or who need step free access etc should be allocated seats in the dedicated areas.

 

Based on the above, the club therefore only meets 73% of the guidance and has a shortfall of 40 wheelchair spaces. They should be working on a plan to rectify this deficit within a reasonable timeframe under the auspices of a full independent Access Audit.

Accessible amenities

 

Both home and away fans can use the 15 accessible toilets inside the stadium, located near the accessible seating areas.

 

Watford has a Changing Places toilet at the ground accessible from all 4 sides of the stadium. If you require use of this facility we recommend contacting the club ahead of your visit. 

 

Watford have a sensory room available for disabled fans. If you wish to use this facility, it is recommended that you contact the club in advance.

 

The club shop is accessible for all fans and does have a low level serving counter. Catering kiosks in the home sections only do have low level serving counters and so are fully accessible.

Accessible services & information

 

The club does have a hearing loop in the ticket office. Soccer Sight match commentaries by the local hospital radio are available request via the DLO at the club, headsets will be delivered and collected by stewards. Facilities for assistance dogs are available via request to the DLO at the club. The concourses do not have rest areas included.

 

Watford Club Website - Disabled Supporters Information / Accessibility

 

Official Access Statement

 

Updated December 2017.

Club Additional Information

 

Watford FC also provides Wheelchair facilities on the official coach travel to away games

DSA Additional Information

 

Enables Disabled Supporter Group- Enables is the supporter group for people with disabilities at Watford Football Club. 
 
WFC Enables was established in March 2007 by a group of enthusiastic Watford supporters and Watford FC staff to provide a voice for disabled supporters.
 
The group provides a platform for regular dialogue with the Club relating to the stadium development and the improvements to facilities for the disabled and also creates a social forum for supporters to enjoy meeting and talking about what drives them on - Watford FC!
 

Membership of WFC Enables is free.

Comments about Watford:

 

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Fans comments reflect the views of the fans themselves and do not necessarily reflect the views of LPF.

 

Comments

Watford FC

Match: Response to comment by Mr Powell dated 15/10/2017

Published: 9/11/2017

 

Mr Powell,

 

Further to your email dated 15.10.2017, I have now investigated the issues you have raised and can provide the following responses.

 

Stadium Entry

 

As you rightly state, the tickets for the pitchside positions refer to entrance 10. This is deliberate on our part for the following reasons.

 

As you’ll perhaps be aware from previous visits to Vicarage Road in the past two seasons, our Vicarage Roadies matchday meet and greet team are tasked with providing escort to visiting disabled supporters who will be using the pitchside positions. The additional information shared with Alun Francis, Disabled Liaison Officer at Arsenal FC, is copied below.

 

“Disabled supporters should aim for the ‘Vicarage Roadie’ Information Point next to the Hornets Shop in Vicarage Road. Supporters should then approach Watford’s ‘Vicarage Roadies’ match day meet and greet team, who are dressed in bright green hi-vis jackets and will be stationed outside the stadium from 3.30 pm onwards. The ‘Roadies’ team will be happy to escort supporters to the appropriate accessible entrances and on to the away sections of the stadium”

 

Alun has confirmed that this information was shared with you ahead of Saturday’s match.

 

We mark the tickets with entrance 10 as we know the Roadies will not always be approached. The stewards at gate 10 are briefed to ensure that anybody with a pitchside ticket is advised to approach a member of our Vicarage Roadie team. While it is regrettable that the stewards you encountered did not provide that information until much later, I am satisfied that you were eventually given the correct information.

 

Access to raised platforms

 

Without the plate mentioned, the raised platform system we have in place would be rendered inoperative. As part of our work towards meeting the accessible stadia commitment made by all PL clubs, the platform system was identified as our best option to make a reasonable adjustment to the visiting section and provide elevated positions. The whole system, including the plate, has been approved by SAG and the EHRC have also viewed the platforms.

 

Lift access to pitch level

 

While we would agree it would have been preferable to locate the lift mentioned within the visitor’s section during our ASG works, we were unable to achieve this due to the geology around the stadium and the challenges provided by the built environment at the Vicarage Road end of the stadium.

The only location in which we could build a lift to access the pitchside positions is within the more recently constructed Sir Elton John Stand.  We believe this route is preferable to the previous arrangements, which saw visiting wheelchair supporters accessing the stadium at the opposite end of the stadium and represents a further reasonable adjustment to our provision.

 

The lift is fit for purpose and allows enough room for both a wheelchair and personal assistant, as per the attached images.

 

View from pitchside positions

 

All matchday staff in this area of the stadium are briefed about the importance of keeping the view from the pitchside positions clear while the match is in progress. While the images you shared on social media would seem to indicate that our briefings did not have the desired effect, having reviewed CCTV footage of the area during the match, we are satisfied that the view was not compromised for the entirety of the match. We do not agree that the far touchline and goal line are obscured by the ‘crown’ of the pitch.

 

Refreshment facilities

 

We operate a seat-side ordering and delivery service for refreshments in all accessible areas of our stadium. On checking with the volunteers from our Community Trust, who manage the service, I can confirm that all areas were covered. When I specifically asked about the away pitchside positions, I was informed that only one cup of tea was requested by another supporter, so I am satisfied that you were approached by our team.

 

Personal Assistant access to toilets

 

It is entirely regrettable that your personal assistant was denied access to the accessible toilet until you insisted. We will ensure that all stewards working in the area are reminded of the importance of treating supporters respectfully and apologise for any upset caused.

 

In conclusion, while we are respectful of your views and thank you for taking the time to share your experience, we do not feel that a refund is due on this occasion. We would also not consider closing the area. Feedback from supporters of other clubs suggest that both the escort provided by the Roadies team and the seat side service are valued by visitors, while the pitchside proximity to the action is also considered in a positive light. This is borne out by the fact that your complaint is the first we have received since comments were posted on the Level Playing Field website by Arsenal supporter Anthony Joy last season. 

 

Watford FC has worked hard to improve facilities for all disabled supporters since making its commitment as part of the Premier League pledge. We hope that by drawing your attention to the services we have in place, your next visit to Vicarage Road will provide a more enjoyable experience.

 

Kind Regards,

Dave Messenger

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Steven Powell

Match: Watford v Arsenal, Premier League, Saturday 14/10/17

Published: 15/10/2017

 

Access to the four away fans' pitch level wheelchair spaces in the corner of the Vicarage Road and Sir Elton John Stands is via a home fans' area. The entrance number marked on the ticket (Entrance 10, Vicarage Road Stand) is wrong. This is the entrance for the ten elevated away fans' wheelchair spaces.

 

 Despite telling the stewards on the gate that we were in the pitchside spaces we were admitted and our tickets scanned.

 

I told the steward inside that we were in the pitchside spaces. He insisted that we follow him. We did, only to be shown to the elevated away wheelchair platform, access to which was via a "drawbridge" manually operated by a steward across the steps for able-bodied supporters. This Heath Robinson design looked dangerous to me. I'm surprised that Hertfordshire County Council has licensed this feature.

 

On finally understanding that we were in the wrong place a steward took us out of the stadium. He had to ask four colleagues exactly where we should enter the ground.

 

We entered via a home area. Access to pitch level was via a very cramped lift. The view from our position was appalling, being situated outside the touchline and constantly obstructed by stewards and photographers. The "crown" of the pitch and the level of our position meant that the far touchline and goal line were obscured.

 

We had no access to refreshment facilities. My companion who is himself disabled was refused access to the disabled toilet in the home area.

 

The entire experience was horrible. These wheelchair spaces are completely unfit for purpose. I shall be making a complaint under the supporters' charter demanding a full refund.

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Anthony Joy

Match: Watford v Arsenal 27/08/16

Published: 28/8/2016

 

Living near to Watford, I was aware that building works continue at Vicarage Road.  Match tickets clearly states that the location of away wheelchairs is a temporary arrangement & apologies were given for the inconvenience.   Away wheelchairs are in the corner (pitch level) between the Vicarage Road & Sir Elton John stand.   You still need to enter via Gate 18 at the Rookery End and walk back along the touchline.   Helpers in Green jackets are on hand to escort you through.

 

The area can accommodate 5 wheelchairs at a push, but it is very narrow, so if you are first in you'll be trapped in unless all other chairs move out of the way for you (see picture).  Talking with stewards they said that Arsenal had sold 8 tickets but the area could only take 5. 3 wheelchairs had to sit by the advertising boards so we may have blocked the view of those behind.  My companion's seat was 6ft away from me so I couldnt talk to him during the game.  This was all a bit disappointing; stewards did say that a platform was being constructed mid-stand for up to 15 wheelchairs(?) that could be accessed from street level.  Unsure of timescale but hopefully at some point during the 2016/17 season.

 

So I can make my peace with the seating arrangements, its not ideal or the best but it is a temporary fix.   What isnt that excusable is the disabled toilet in the Sir Elton John stand being under an inch of water.   It looked to me that the sluice tap near the floor of the toilet was leaking.   The amount of water indicated that it had been leaking for a while, and no indication the toilets were being checked or mopped.

 

Despite a good performance and win for Arsenal, I was really disappointed in the stewarding at Watford.  They were rude and inflexible.  At the final whistle, the stewards refused to move a barrier to allow us to leave once the players had left the field so to allow the stand to empty.  They used words like "safety", "supervisor said" and "its easier for us (stewards).  This went on for over 10 minutes - the stewards even refused to move the barrier to allow one wheelchair to use the toilet! Things became heated and once steward commented that they werent paid enough to listen to our complaints - no one had been abusive, all we wanted was to leave the ground.  We would take responsibility for our own safety.  When we were allowed to leave, I complained to the head steward; he was extremely apologetic and commented "they wont be working there again".  Worth bearing in mind, if you need to catch a train after the game. 

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Gary Armstrong

Match: All matches

Published: 14/5/2016

 

To all away disabled fans I’m Gary Armstrong. I’m on the committee for the enables which is for disabled Watford fans. I’ve read all the comments made and I’d like to say sorry, but at the moment there is loads of work going on the new disabled section at the Vicarage Road end. Watford FC is on the up and by next season it should be finished and disabled fans will be above all other supporters so next time you come you should be nice and dry and on street level.

 

Kind regards Gary

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Anonymous

Match: Everton

Published: 12/4/2016

 

The away wheelchair supporters are now located pitchside at Vicarage Road, in the very far corner of Sir Elton John stand. We were not in with the rest of the away supporters, which is always a disapointment. As far as I was aware there was no way of gaining any access to the Vicarage Road stand either, so meeting up with friends was impossible.

 

There were no actual wheelchair bays/markings set out, so I was told to sit next to the other two disabled supporters that were in the ground by the time I arrived. Companions had no seats by us, they were sat a good couple of yards further behind us, not near enough to talk to during the game or to offer assistance to any one who may have needed it. Also, their view from the seats they had wasn't great and they had to stand up for large parts of the game to be able to see the pitch. A steward told us that once the game kicked off we could move our wheelchairs forward to be against the advertising boardings if it would help us see.

This had to be done as if we had stayed further back our view would have been obstructed by the photographers who were sat to our left. The view from here was ok, although I found it a bit hard seeing play in the corner of the Sir Elton John Stand. There was no cover from having to sit so far forward, so you would get very wet sitting there if it rains.  

 

During the first half there were 5 wheelchair users sitting pitchside, however, during the half time interval another 2 wheelchair supporters were moved here as they'd spent the first half sitting in the wrong part of the stadium. This made it extremely cramped. One of the wheelchair users who had been sitting next to me during the first half ended up sitting behind me for the second half as he lost his "space" whilst going to the toilet at half time. He tried to sit a little further down the Sir Elton John stand by the photographers but was told he couldn't so the only place he could go was behind me. 

 

The accessible toilets were in the Sir Elton John stand, I was taking to them by a steward, they were accessed by a RADAR key, very spacious and clean.


The other issue that I found disappointing was the access to and particularly from the ground. Stewards escorted you in and down the touchline, past the dugouts to the corner. We were told that we couldn't leave before the end of the game as we wouldn't be allowed to go back past the dugouts whilst the game was on. When the game ended, we were then told we couldn't leave for another 10 minutes to allow the Watford crowd to dispearse and the area around the dugout to clear. Fortunately for Saturday's game we didn't need to rush as our train was after 6pm but if we had been travelling back on an earlier train this hold up could have caused problems and if we had have been travelling back home on the coaches we would have been really late getting to them as not only did we have to wait behind for these 10 minutes, the walk back up the path way to Vicarage Road also took at least 10 minutes and if we had been on the coach we would have had to get back around to the away end. 

To summarise my Vicarage Road trip, the access/egress is quite poor, not having my companion sitting near to me was disappointing as was not being in the same stand as the rest of the away supporters but the stewarding was excellent. All of the stewards who I spoke to were helpful and friendly. 

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Chris Smith

Match: Watford v Everton 09/04/2016

Published: 11/4/2016

 

My first trip back to Watford since early 2000's. Much has changed to the ground since then. 

 

We arrived at Watford Junction around 1pm and got a cab to the ground. We decided to have a walk around the ground but a disabled liason officer approached us and advised us that one part of the ground is blocked off so we'd be best going straight in. Fair enough and we were duly escorted by this chap down the back of the Sir Elton John Stand and through the gates of Rockerry Stand to gain access into the stadium.

 

Once inside we were further escorted along the front of the Sir EJ Stand, past the dug outs and taken to a concourse area that served snacks, TV screens and shown the accessible toilet. We were met by another disabled liason steward who gave us a quick run-down on things. The stewarding by both was excellent. Really polite and helpful people who were all too happy to help out.

 

The wheelchair area for away fans is located by the corner flag of the Sir EJ Stand and right by the away fans. Space is at a premium it has to be said and there are no marked out bays. Companion seats are sat a yard or two behind.

 

The view, whilst at a low level, is OK, nothing more. There is no shelter from the elements so you'd get drenched should there be a heavy downpour.

 

The other disappointment is not having the option/freedom of leaving the ground early. This was frustrating especially having to wait until the crowd around us dispersed after the game. Not great when you have a coach waiting or a train to catch. The walk back up the path of the Sir EJ Stand took an age too.

 

To summarise: The Stewarding is excellent but the disabled seating arrangements and access in and out of the ground are both poor. I am unsure if anything can be done to gain more effective/easier access into the ground. I really hate the idea of having to be held back at the final whistle and go on trek around the ground just to get back to the top of Vicarage Road.

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Anthony Joy

Match: Watford vs Arsenal, 17/10/15

Published: 25/10/2015

 

The notion of having a "2nd team" is rubbish, but Having moved to just outside Watford some 12 years ago, I have to confess that I do follow their results and their promotion to the premier league brought a trip back to Vicarage Road for the first time in 8 years.

 

Any disabled away fan at the Vic will be familiar with the tiny little hut, raised up in the corner.  Well the extensive refurb of the stadium has seen that hut demolished (not before time), and while Watford rebuild a wheelchair platform there is a temporary arrangement to place wheelchairs (x5) at pitch side, behind the corner flag between the Vicarage Road and Sir Elton John stands. The view is good, and you are right next to your fans. The tickets are only £5 each. The downside is your companions have no where to sit, you're open to the elements, and to access the stadium you need to enter via the Watford end and be escorted along the touchline to the area.

 

Due to some unheard of Premier League rule that says you cannot cross the tunnel area 30mins before kick off Watford asked us to enter at 1630 ( for a 1730 ko). Seemed harsh to us.

 

Toilets were at the other end of the ground, in with the Watford fans. Watford did offer a waiter service at halftime for hot drinks.  Apparently to obtain a beer you could access the SEJ stand.

 

When you arrive at Vicarage Road, look for the Roadies in the green top who will escort you to the entrance through the crowds. They were a great help.

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Stephen

Match: Watford v Charlton

Published: 26/9/2013

 

Attended match as an away supporter on September 14th but ended up missing the first minute due to the fact that we got there and the police were a little bit busy  because of the crowds.  But to be fair to them they did let us in when all the traffic had dispersed. 

 

I didn't mind as I went with a friend of mine who is a home supporter anyway. Their ground is ok,  it is decent.  

 

The only thing I would say in their defence is in some of the disabled section in the away end they have a restrictred view but that is no fault of the club. Very decent home supporters and I wouldn't hesitate asking Charlton if I could go again.

 

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Ray Parry and Barbara Merrell

Match: versus Leicester City 10/02/2010

Published: 26/10/2012

 

We only found out their was 6 away spaces available to away fans in the Rookery Lane end after we complained to the steward that we could only see one third of the pitch as we took up our allocated space (no:10) in the Vicarage Road end wheelchair access area on our arrival at the ground.

The wheelchair spaces are marked out and the first 8 are allocated to the Watford disabled season tickets fans. Spaces 8 to 16 are allocated to the disabled away fans. Unfortunately the view is severely restricted from space 8 onwards. The goal on your right is not in your sight line the same for the corner flag at the far end to my left.

The Watford fans explained they did not like to sit in the new Rookery Lane end as the overview at pitch level was not as good as the elevated one at Vicarage Road end.

We have been travelling away fans with the LCFC for some 15 years and this was the most disappointing trip we have made to Vicarage Road ground.

I was asked to pay £27 for the ticket, my carer is free, but is not allocated a seat and is expected to sit at the back of the accessible area, where they would have not been able to see any of the match. I am asked to pay the same price as any other adult paying away fan, who would have been able to see the whole playing surface as it stretched out in front of them. If I had stayed in my allocated space, number 10, I would only have been able to view one third of the pitch.

I am now aware of the other allocated spaces and will be asking for one of these in the future. Unfortunately, this means I will not be able to sit with the other travelling LCFC fans, but as my priority is to watch the team perform I will have to sacrifice my pleasure in being part of the away travel contingency.

I would also like to say the female steward on duty on the day, was absolutely fantastic. She deserved a medal for listening to all of our moans in regard to the view we were all expected to suffer (or not have). The Watford disabled members who fetched our drinks at half time, also listened to our complaints with empathy.

This has been an issue for some years now and we are aware of the on-going development of the Vicarage Road ground, but, please as it is now 2011, try and do something to end this discrimination towards all wheelchair users / chronically ill / ambulant fans. We should be able to have a reasonable view of the game as it is played, whether we win 3 - 2 or lose 3 - 2.

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Gary Deards

Match: Watford v Reading 20/11/2010

Published: 26/10/2012

 

Agree totally with previous comments - try and avoid getting a seat nubers 10+ as you'll only see 2/3rds of the game

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