Friday, January 13, 2017

Goodbye yellow brick road

Today we pay tribute to the sad and sudden death of Graham Taylor, former manager of Watford Football Club.

Graham Taylor's arrival at Watford's Vicarage Road ground in 1977 was the beginning of a golden era in the history of the club. Hired by Elton John following GT's early management success with Lincoln City, it heralded an incredibly successful partnership between the music super star and the football manager. 

Back then the English Football League was divide into four divisions, simply labelled as First Division through to Fourth Division. At the time of GT's appointment, Watford FC had been relegated to the fourth division and finished 8th in the 1974/75 season with Taylor's Lincoln City gaining top spot and promotion. Five years later following successive promotions Watford finished as runners up of the First Division, just behind Liverpool - a club at the pinnacle of their success. European football followed. By any standard this was an amazing achievement and tribute to the planning, attention to detail and motivation which was the hall mark of GT.  While he went on to manage England 'Elton John's Taylor made Army'  dropped back to the third tier of English football then once again GT and Elton returned and worked the magic getting Watford back to the top flight and what was by now the Premier League.

In November 2010 I was to meet Graham Taylor during the course of my work, interviewing him on video for one of our clients. Once the camera was switched off I  chatted to Graham Taylor about his family, home life and media work and admitted to being a Watford fan since a young boy. I  told GT  what an inspiration he had shown us. That we could all dream the impossible dream. And to my amazement his response was to thank me for being a Watford supporter.

Today the upgraded Watford stadium has stands named after Graham Taylor and Sir Elton John complete with lyrics from Elton's songs.  Sadly there can now be no third time reprise for the Elton John, Graham Taylor partnership.

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