Sunday 30 April 2017

Football mourns a true gentleman

Graham Taylor, who died on Thursday Photo: Nick Potts/PA Wire
Graham Taylor, who died on Thursday Photo: Nick Potts/PA Wire

Brian Kerr

Graham Taylor will be remembered for two things: as an inspiring and impressive manager and with respect from those who he played under and worked with him. "He was like a brother to me," said Alex Ferguson during the week.

Alan Shearer, Paul McGrath and Tony Cascarino also spoke warmly about Taylor, particularly McGrath and when there is a such an outpouring of goodwill, it shows how he was capable of retaining a relationship with a lot of players long after he managed them.

Dimitri Payet has stated that he wants to leave West Ham Photo: Nick Potts/PA Wire
Dimitri Payet has stated that he wants to leave West Ham Photo: Nick Potts/PA Wire

I admired his achievements in the game, the six promotions he won with Watford and Aston Villa, before he took both clubs to runner-up finishes in the First Division.

Meeting him in Palermo on my way to Ireland's match against Egypt in 1990, I found him a courteous, respectful and knowledgeable man, like a bloke I'd known for a long time. So hearing the news he had passed away on Thursday left me shocked and saddened. Graham was a special bloke, not just a very good football manager.

If there is one thing that seems plainly obvious about modern-day footballers, it is that they will do whatever they want to get what they want.

Look at Dmitri Payet. His decision to throw the toys out of the pram and say he has no intention of playing again for West Ham just increases my scepticism about the influence agents have in the game.

Payet shows fickle side of modern game

Clearly there are clubs looking to sign Payet - and take him away from the club and the manager that nurtured him into a star.

Slaven Bilic gave him a platform - put him into a team and showed him belief - yet after the first sign of a downturn, he grabs an opportunity to get out.

And that is one of those things in modern football that I hate, one of those things that makes so many people sceptical and unloving of the modern game, especially in this part of the world where the ethos of the GAA, where players stay loyal to club and county, is so strong.

But the behaviour of Payet and Jose Fonte - who handed in a transfer request in the week of Southampton's League Cup semi-final - was simply horrible, the least reputable aspect of the modern game.

Irish Independent

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