John Goodall’s Gravestone

For decades, Watford’s first-ever manager lay in an unmarked grave in Vicarage Road cemetery. Until this week.

In the late 19th century, John Goodall (known to his contemporaries and our listeners as ‘Johnny Allgood’) had been the first truly great footballer. He was the League’s top scorer when he won the double with Preston, and he captained England. When he came to manage Watford in 1903, he made the team invincible in his first season.

After he left the club, he lived in the town until his death in 1942. For reasons that aren’t clear (but may simply have been financial), no gravestone was erected.

In May 2018, this state of affairs has been corrected. John Goodall was a true sporting great, and his final resting place is now appropriately marked in Section G of Vicarage Road cemetery — just yards from the stadium.

Historian and Watford fan Trefor Jones said: “The grave was unmarked when I traced it nearly 30 years ago. Goodall was buried a two-minute walk from Watford Football Club, and nobody — absolutely no other living person, I believe — was aware of it. It niggled me for years, until I decided to act.” 

Thanks to the club and Trefor, anyone can now go and pay and their respects.

Our latest episode (Series 6, Episode 4) gives our own Hornet Heaven take on Johnny Allgood’s restoration. You can listen here (or on iTunes, Audioboom, Spotify, etc.)