12th January - 23rd February 2002 at Watford Museum
GOAL-DEN YEARS, 1977-1987
Re-live the excitement of Graham Taylor's first period in charge of Watford Football Club through this exhibition of memorabilia and memories

Watford Museum go for a Football Double

They thought it was all over after the first 'Goal-den Years' exhibition - but the popular look at Watford Football club's fortunes under the leadership of Graham Taylor is set to return.

From the 11th January to the 1st March 2003, Watford Museum will be focusing on Graham Taylor's second period in charge from 1996 to 2001. Fans who have a memento to lend or a story to tell are urged to get in touch and become part of this unique football double.

The first Goal-den Years display, focusing on the years from 1977 - 1987, was a phenomenal success. Graham Taylor himself was among the celebrities who attended the opening and the website attracted stories, memories and mementos from Watford fans across the world. The result was the biggest ever exhibition about the club.

Ian Grant, co-editor of Watford supporters' website "Blind, Stupid and Desperate" said, "BSaD was delighted to be involved in the first 'Goal-den Years' exhibition, which offered a unique opportunity for all kinds of Watford supporters to celebrate a very special part of the club's history. It was a superb success, and we're looking forward to helping to make the second exhibition just as memorable."

For more information or to get involved, please contact Sarah Jones, Heritage Officer at Watford Museum by telephone: 01923 232297, e-mail: sarahjo@watford.gov.uk. And look out for a new Goal-den Years website soon!

A donation from Terry Challis

Following his contributions to the first "Goal-den Years" exhibition, Terry Challis, whose Watford Observer cartoons have provided irreverent and witty commentary on the fortunes of the Hornets for many years, has kindly donated a number of pieces of his original artwork to the museum's collection. Many thanks to Terry for such a generous gesture.

Playing for Success and a donation to the Peace Hospice

Watford Museum attended the Playing for Success Celebration Evening at Vicarage Road on 8th April. Ray Wilkins, Terry Byrne and Tim Shaw were there to make awards to the young people in the scheme. It was a chance for students, who come from local primary and secondary schools, to show off their work. These included Powerpoint presentations on Sarah's visit to the Watford Learning Centre in February.

Also, Watford Museum has given the Peace Hospice �105 from sales during the "Goal-den Years" exhibition of a Graham Taylor tribute fanzine. "There's Only One Graham Taylor" was written and produced by Watford fans to commemorate Taylor's retirement from Watford in April 2001 and is now completely sold out!

Playing for Success

Sarah Jones visited some of the students of "Playing for Success" at the Watford Learning Centre in Vicarage Road before the game against Norwich on 26th February. Sarah, who co-ordinated the Goal-den Years exhibition, took Watford FC memorabilia from the museum's collections for the children to handle and photograph. The visit was voted a success by all, and should be the first of regular visits the Education and Outreach Service of Watford Museum make to the Watford Learning Centre.

An end of exhibition report

The first "Goal-den Years" exhibition closed its doors on Saturday 23rd February 2002. During the six weeks the exhibition was open to the public, well over 1,600 people visited Watford Museum, making it one of the most popular exhibitions in recent years.

181 objects, 86 images and 23 written contributions made this the biggest ever exhibition about Watford Football Club, and Watford Museum would like to thank everyone who supported and contributed. In addition, £108 was raised for the Watford Peace Hospice through sales of the "There's only one Graham Taylor" tribute fanzine in our gift shop.

Work has already begun on the second "Goal-den Years" exhibition (covering the period from Graham Taylor's return in 1996 to his departure in 2001), planned to open in January 2003.

One week to go!

With a week left before it closes on 23rd February, over a thousand people have visited the museum since the "Goal-den Years" exhibition opened in January. The collection has grown since then too, with the addition of even more photos, items and contributions. If you can get along to see for yourself, you can find opening times, contact details and directions here.

The competition on the "Blind, Stupid and Desperate" website to win three "Goal-den Years" posters signed by Graham Taylor was a great success and resulted in parcels winging their way to Harrow, Bristol and Israel.

Finally, even though the first "Goal-den Years" exhibition will soon be over, this website will continue to be updated as work begins on the next exhibition, which will cover Graham Taylor's second spell at Watford. So please check here for further news and information.

Museums Journal

The Museums Journal has featured the "Goal-den Years" in an article on football exhibitions. The article covers the National Football Museum at Preston, the Scottish Football Museum at Hampden Park, and the museums at Manchester United and Arsenal, before devoting its final paragraphs to Watford. As Sarah says, the exhibition is "a good example of how a small museum can catch something big and get a lot of interest."

More memories

In the memories section, Adam Cummings of Radio Hornet remembers being ticked off by Graham Taylor after making an announcement on the pitch. To read Adam's memories, click here

Photos of the official opening

As you can see, we've added some photos from the official opening of the exhibition on 14th January to this page - you might recognise one or two faces!

Graham Taylor interview

BBC Three Counties Radio has covered the "Goal-den Years" exhibition on its website, where you can listen to an interview with Graham Taylor from the official opening. Click here to go to the Three Counties site.

Competition time

The "Blind, Stupid and Desperate" website is running a competition to win a "Goal-den Years" poster, signed by Graham Taylor. To enter, click here. The exhibition has also been enthusiastically reviewed by Dave Messenger of the "Look at the Stars" fanzine - to read Dave's thoughts, click here

Special view

On Monday, over a hundred people attended a special view of the "Goal-den Years" exhibition. Most of the guests were those who had supported and contributed to the exhibition, including Oli Phillips, Nigel Gibbs, Terry Challis and Graham Taylor, who officially opened the exhibition. The evening was a great success with fans coming from as far afield as the Isle of Man and Leeds to support the event.

Exhibition opens!

The "Goal-den Years" exhibition opens its doors to the public! Two whole galleries of memories, images and memorabilia. For information on opening times and directions to the museum, click here.

More memories

As the run-up to the opening of the "Goal-den Years" exhibition on 12th January continues, two familiar names share their memories with us - Ed Coan, the club's Director of Marketing and Mike Vince, who has commentated on many a memorable match. To read Ed's thoughts on the role of the club within the community, click here; to read Mike's memories of the UEFA Cup trip to Prague, click here.

An old face arrives...

Whatever happened to the Watford Observer clock? Well, it arrived at the Museum yesterday and Sarah spent some considerable time cleaning it up for the exhibition....

Less than a week to go!

After months of work, the first "Goal-den Years" exhibition will open on 12th January 2002 at Watford Museum. For information about how to get to Watford Museum, click here.

In the meantime, Stuart Clarke has told us how he and his brother Kevin proved to be an influence on the new Watford manager back in 1977. To read their memories, click here.

Graham Taylor OBE

Graham Taylor, the inspiration behind Watford FC's "Goal-den Years", was awarded an OBE in the New Year Honours list. Congratulations, Graham!

More memories

Robert Alexander has told us the story of how his devotion to football, and Watford in particular, almost got him expelled from school. Click here to read his memories.

More memories

Oliver Phillips, Assistant Editor at the Watford Observer, writes about interviewing Graham Taylor when he first arrived at the club. Click here to read his memories.

On the football trail

The Goal-den Years website is featured on the 24HourMuseum's Football Museum Trail. Click here to have a ramble.

More memorabilia

Dotted around the site, you'll find just a few of the hundreds of items of memorabilia that have been contributed to the exhibition.

Goal-den Years on the radio and more memories

Today, Sarah Jones talked to Simon Oxley of Three Counties Radio about the Goal-den Years exhibitions. The short interview will be broadcast on Sunday 25th November, at half-time during Three Counties' coverage of the Watford v Portsmouth match. You can find Three Counties on 103.8 FM or 630 MW.

Also, more memories as Matt Rowson, co-editor of the "Blind, Stupid and Desperate" website, takes us back to August 1983. Click here to read his contribution.

More memories

Simon Waldman writes about the journey home from the FA Cup semi-final against Plymouth. Click here to read his memories.

More memories

After reading Caroline Gillies' memories of the advert in the Times, Revd. David Rivers wrote to us with more information. Click here to read his memories.

Graham Taylor Made Freeman of the Borough

Watford Museum was at the Colosseum to see GT made Freeman of the Borough of Watford. It was a night to remember with civic pomp, entertainment with Luther Blissett as MC and presentations by Watford Council and the Watford Observer. The Museum was there to observe the ceremony and promote the Goal-den Years exhibitions with a display of artefacts from our WFC collection. You can read Sarah Jones' account of the ceremony on the "Blind, Stupid and Desperate" site by clicking here.

To join Watford Museum's mailing list for information on special events, workshops or football-related activities, call Sarah on 01923 232297 or click here.


From the top:

The official opening of the exhibition brought back lots of memories for Graham Taylor. Photo by Pete Stevens.

Graham Taylor with Sybil Tuckwood, the Mayor of Watford, and Sarah Jones, the organiser of the exhibition. Photo by Pete Stevens.

Nigel Gibbs with the Watford Observer clock. Photo by Jane Parr.

Click on the images to enlarge