How the hell do I get there?!
From Sunderland, it’s 261 miles of relative simplicity. If you’re going by car, join the A1(M) after the A19, which you’ll stay on until junction 35. After a brief sojourn along the M18, merge onto the M1 and sail down it until you, well, get to Watford. Turn off at junction 5 where the A4008 will take you into Watford and Vicarage Road will begin to be sign posted.
If you’re getting the train to Kings Cross, head over to Euston station once you arrive and get on the Overground. That line will take you directly to Watford Junction, which leaves you just over a 20 minute walk to the stadium.
Where can I get a pint?
The Flag is right opposite Watford Junction station, so that makes it extra handy for those using trains. It was full of Sunderland fans basking in the sunshine last season, due to a large outside seating area, so it should be canny if the weather stays fine for Saturday. If it chucks it down, it’s a fairly big boozer so there’ll plenty of room inside to keep dry. They have a large selection of beers and you can grab a bite to eat - what more do you want?
If you get tired of The Flag and fancy making your way to the ground, but want a stop off along the way, then you’re in luck! Located on the High Street, The Moon Under Water is a Wetherspoons so you’ll know what kind of fare to expect. It may not have been what George Orwell had in mind when he penned his essay of the same name but it’ll do for a Spring afternoon in Watford.
By the way: due to the narrow concourse in the away end, alcohol isn’t served in the ground, so don’t head in early if you’re after a swally.
I’m Going To Be There Before/After, What Else Can I Do?
Just up the road and ideal for those travelling with the family, The Warner Bros Studio Tour is an attraction bringing people in from all over the world. Why? Because they’ve got Harry Potter World! The cost of tickets to see the universe of everyone's favourite spectacled wizard vary on what kind of package you go for, what time, what day etc, so check their website for full details.
The Watford Colosseum is hosting Al Murray on Saturday night and while he’s certainly not for everyone, there aren’t many comics who can work a crowd and build up a character from the audience like The Pub Landlord. Tickets are priced at £31 but are very limited, so move fast if you fancy it.
Many political figures seem desperate to take us back to the 1940’s, so why not prepare yourself by visiting The Forties Experience? According to Trip Advisor, this is the 9th best thing to do in Watford (above a fire brigade museum, for god’s sake) and it only costs a fiver, so why not go and incite some historical experience based rivalry, by telling them they’ve got nowt on Beamish.
What’s The Stadium Like?
They’ve got a stand named after Elton John. How many grounds can you think of that have stands named after flamboyant, generation-spanning popstars? Exactly. They’ve got one named after Graham Taylor as well, possibly the nicest man to ever grace football. If, for some reason, The Hornets ended up naming a stand after Dave Grohl, they’d probably have rename Vicarage Road “The Canny Lads Stadium” due to all the canny lads they’ve got stands named after.
The away end, unfortunately, isn’t named after a famous nice bloke but takes its name from the ground itself. The Vicarage Road stand is divided between both sets of supporters, with one half accommodating around 2,200 visitors. Being an older ground, it’s quite compact, giving potential for “absolute scenes” to be triggered, should the away team nab a goal in front of their travelling army.
Vicarage Road has had it's fair share of redevelopment in recent years, with the most recent rebuilding taking place in the aforementioned Sir Elton Stand. Despite the modernisation, The Vic hasn't lost any of that old school charm, while still not being a total hovel where it feels like you're watching the match through a letterbox. In short, it's a decent stadium.
Safe journey to all of those travelling down and hopefully, if nothing else, you’ll get a goal celebrate.