Friday 15 December 2017

Former England football manager Graham Taylor dies aged 72

Graham Taylor in his Villa days
Graham Taylor in his Villa days

Sam Wallace in London

Former England football manager Graham Taylor died yesterday aged 72.

His family said in a statement it was suspected he had a heart attack.

For all his achievements as a manager, especially at Watford, Taylor will be remembered best for his part in the football documentary 'An Impossible Job', chronicling his time in charge of England, and known to millions of fans as the "Do I Not Like That" programme.

That was one of Taylor's catchphrases as his England team crashed out of qualifying for the 1994 World Cup, their fate sealed with defeat to Holland in Rotterdam and Taylor ranting on the touchline.

Taylor never held a grudge against the media, even when 'The Sun' put a turnip on his head after England's elimination from the 1992 European Championships at the hands of Sweden.

During the latter years of his career in management, and after that, Taylor worked as a summariser for BBC Radio Five Live covering England games and travelling with the press pack, some of whom had once demanded his sacking.

He said he never regretted taking the England job or the transparency with which he approached it, saying at least people could see how much he cared, but the failure to qualify for the 1994 World Cup was one from which Taylor's reputation never truly recovered, although he did go on to manage at Wolverhampton Wanderers and had further stints at Watford and Aston Villa.

It was at Watford in the 1970s and 1980s that he made his name as an ambitious, no-nonsense manager.

Under Taylor, Watford rose from the Fourth Division in 1977 to the top-flight in the space of just five years. In 1982-1983, their first season in the old First Division, Taylor's Watford finished second. The following season they reached the FA Cup final, losing to Everton.

After Watford, he went on to restore Aston Villa to the top flight.

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