Ex-England coach Graham Taylor dies at 72

Taylor passed away on Thursday at the age of 72. He may have operated at the highest level but he never talked down to supporters and was always interested in how they viewed the game. That was where he began in management with Lincoln City, aged just 28, the youngest boss and youngest qualified FA coach in the country.

Fast forward five seasons and, inspired by a youthful John Barnes and the goalscoring Luther Blissett, Watford finished second in the First Division, qualifying for the Uefa Cup.

The club wrote: "Everyone at #watfordfc is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of our most successful manager".

To the supporters of Lincoln City, Watford and Aston Villa, Taylor was nothing short of a club legend.

After winning the fourth tier, Taylor moved south to Watford. Sir Elton replied: "Right, let's give it a go".

Former Villa chairman Sir Doug Ellis, who brought Taylor to the club on both occasions, said: "I enjoyed working with him".

Taylor holds his Officer of the British Empire medal at Buckingham Palace London Britain
POOL Taylor holds his Officer of the British Empire medal at Buckingham Palace London Britain

Robert Howard: I spent a train journey from Hemel Hempstead to Euston sitting talking to Graham.

With the Hornets languishing in the division Taylor had just won promotion from, Taylor seemed unconvinced, telling the Watford chairman it would take around a million pounds to achieve the dreams of Europe he spoke of. He returned hungrier to prove his doubters wrong but without the sort of bitterness that so often characterised some of his contemporaries and indeed successors as England manager. He was a fair man; a very kind and warm and generous man; a gentleman, in fact, and someone full of integrity.

"He applied himself to every facet of football management. Graham, you will be missed". "He would always be honest, that was definitely one of his things - he'd always tell you the truth I've got very fond memories and I'm so disappointed to hear the news". I was so nervous with a new manager coming in and my future up in the air.

In a nutshell, Taylor's football methods were tried and trusted. Here are some pictures from his long career in football.

Stoke striker Peter Crouch, who also played for Taylor at Villa, tweeted: "Sad new about Graham Taylor". The manager was seriously criticised and lampooned as a "turnip" in The Sun newspaper. Credit: PA Taylor, seen with BBC commentator Alan Green, became a familiar voice on radio commentaries following his retirement. It was a sign of the esteem in which he was held by fans as well as players that whenever he encountered supporters overseas, he was treated with complete respect.

Taylor lost only one of his first 23 games as England boss and qualified for the 1992 European Championships, reaching the quarter-finals.

  • Stacy Allen