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Watford fans maintain a rivalry with those of Luton Town. The two sides met regularly in the Southern League between 1900 and 1920,[93] and continued to do so in The Football League until 1937,[94] when Luton gained promotion from Division Three South. Luton remained in a higher division than Watford until 1963.[95]

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When Watford play at Vicarage Road their players traditionally enter the pitch at the start of the game to the Z-Cars theme tune.[78]

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Despite winning four of the first five league matches of the 2014/15 season, and with Watford sitting in 2nd place, Sannino's position had become the subject of much speculation following rumours of dressing-room unrest and some players taking a dislike to his style of management. Sannino resigned from his position as head coach on 31 August 2014 after just over eight months in charge. His final game in charge was a 4–2 win at home to Huddersfield Town the day before.

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The head-to-head record between the clubs in competitions which currently exist stands at Luton 39 wins, Watford 27 wins, with 23 draws.[d] Watford have remained the higher ranked team at the end of every season since 1997 (and for 23 of the last 24 seasons, with only 1996–97 seeing Luton finish higher in the league than Watford).

Between 1997 and early 2013, Watford shared Vicarage Road with rugby union side Saracens F.C.[87][88] The stadium has hosted matches for the England under-21s,[89] and senior international football between overseas teams.[90] Elton John has also used Vicarage Road as a venue for concerts: He first played at the stadium in 1974 and returned in 2005 and 2010 to stage fundraising concerts for the club.[91] Former events include horse and carriage shows[14] and greyhound racing.[92]

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Watford is currently owned by the Pozzo family, which also owns Udinese Calcio in Italy[2] and previously Granada CF in Spain.[11] Sir Elton John, who owned Watford during both of Graham Taylor's successful periods as manager, served alongside Taylor as the club's joint Honorary Life President until 2008,[12] only to later resume the role which he now shares alongside Graham Taylor.

Watford went into the 2013–14 season full of confidence. They started the season well with positive results, including a 6–1 win over Bournemouth FC and then a 5–1 win over Barnsley. The club's form, however, soon dipped, and Watford struggled, losing five consecutive home matches. This lack of form ultimately led to Gianfranco Zola's departure from the club. In December 2013, Watford appointed Beppe Sannino as their new manager and finished the 2013–14 season in 13th place.

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On 4 June 2015, Quique Sánchez Flores was announced as the new head coach as the replacement to Jovanović,[105] who had failed to agree contract terms. Despite going on to lead the newly promoted Watford to a comfortable mid-table position in the Premier League and the semi-final of the FA Cup, it was announced on 13 May 2016 that Sánchez Flores would be leaving the club at the end of the season.[106]

Despite winning four of the first five league games of the 2014–15 season, Sannino's future at Watford was subject to much speculation after it emerged some players were unhappy with his management style. Sannino resigned from his position as Watford manager on 31 August 2014 with the club second in the table, despite winning 4–2 at home to Huddersfield Town the previous day.[63]

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Slaviša Jokanović left Watford at the end of his one-year contract after he, and the club, failed to reach new contractual agreements; he was replaced by the Spaniard Quique Sánchez Flores.[67] Watford's first fixture in their return to the Premier League was a 2–2 draw with Everton[68] Watford reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup with a fantastic goal by midfielder Adlène Guedioura.[69]

Following Watford's takeover by the Pozzo family, Gianfranco Zola was appointed head coach, replacing former centre back Sean Dyche in July 2012,.[59] Zola took Watford to third position in the Championship in 2012–13 but resigned on 16 December 2013. He was replaced by fellow Italian Beppe Sannino in December 2013. Sannino guided the team to a final league position of 13th.

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