The town of Watford came to a standstill yesterday as thousands of mourners gather to say goodbye to Graham Taylor.
Taylor who died last week of a heart attack at the age of 72 is widely regarded as the greatest manager Watford FC has ever had. During his time at the club Taylor formed a very special and unique bond with his chairman, pop legend and massive Watford fan Sir Elton John.
A remarkable rise to fame
Together the pair took this small family orientated club from Hertfordshire from the depths of the fourth division to being runner up in the old first division in 1982. This remarkable journey culminated in a big day out at the FA Cup final 1984 where they lost 2-0 to Everton invoking that iconic image of the Wembley tears of their superstar chairman.
After spells at Wolves and Aston villa as well as a four year stint as England manager Taylor returned to his spiritual home at Vicarage Road in 1996. He stabilised the club in the second division before achieving promotion to the Premier League in 1999 which was unfortunately followed by immediate relegation the following season.
Moving tributes from family and friends
At the funeral moving tributes were paid by Taylor’s daughters Karen and Joanne along with his three grandchildren. Legendary BBC footballer commentator John Motson read a statement from Sir Elton John who was unable to attend. In his statement Sir Elton once again said that “Graham was like a brother to me our bond was unbreakable”.
The Watford fans outside the church sang along to the famous cup final hymn Abide with me which Taylor led them to experience back in 1984. Representatives of all Taylor’s former sides Lincoln, Wolves and Aston Villa were also present.
It is at Watford however, were he will always be rembered as a legend of the club, a legend of the town and a legend of the people.