The Watford Hornet – Watford, England - Atlas Obscura
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Watford, England

The Watford Hornet

Flying high, this unusual hornet statue celebrates the local soccer team formerly owned by Elton John. 

The stainless steel and bronze “Hornet” statue in Watford hovers lazily about a dozen feet above a circular nest, and is located at the main gateway to the town center.

Installed in 2000 by artist Heath Burrell, the statue represents the nickname of the Watford Football Club, who currently play in the English Premier League and whose stadium, Vicarage Road, is barely a 10-minute walk away. (Rock legend and lifelong Watford fan Elton John was a hands-on owner of the team for several decades, and until recently was Honorary Life President.)

In 1959, the team’s home kit was changed from blue to a striking yellow and black, and a competition among supporters resulted in “The Hornets” chosen as their new nickname. The club later introduced a crest on the shirt that featured a representation of the large, stinging wasp, and in 1974 the design became more cartoonish to reflect the team’s more friendly mascot “Harry The Hornet.”

In 1978, the team badge changed again to feature the head of a hart (a male deer) to reflect the naming of the first part of Hertfordshire, the county where Watford is located.

The new team uniform for the 2018-2019 season was recently unveiled, and the home kit is yellow-and-black striped. On the back of the shirt at the top is the logo of a hornet.