Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Home News UK

Graham Taylor dies: Gerry Armstrong and Colin Murray pay tribute to former England manager

Former England manager Graham Taylor has died. He was 72-years-old.

Taylor was a defender for Grimsby and Lincoln City before becoming a manager when he took over at Lincoln in 1972.

As well as England Mr Taylor also managed at Watford, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Aston Villa before working as a pundit for the BBC.

He managed the England team between 1990 and 93 when the team failed to qualify for the '94 World Cup and which led to him being vilified in the National press.

 

The Sun newspaper called him a "turnip" after the team got kicked out of the '92 European Championships in Sweden.

A subsequent Channel 4 flu-on-the wall documentary 'An Impossible Job' told the story of his ill-fated spell in charge of the national team and which brought to pominance his catchphrase: "Do I not like that."

Former Northern Ireland international footballer Gerry Armstrong posted on Facebook: "Really devastated to hear the sad news of not only my manager at Waford, but such a good friend. Graham you will be sadly missed and football has lost a true shining light.

"Thank you for all the help and good advice you gave me and many other players over the years, but your legacy lives on. Rest in peace. My condolences to Rita and all the family"

Northern Ireland presenter Colin Murray tweeted: "So sad to learn of the passing of Graham Taylor. As nice a human being as I've ever worked alongside. A gentlemen. A genuinely class act."

Terry Venables said his death has "hit us like a sledge hammer".

"I was (manager) at QPR and he was at Watford, there was always great banter," Venables, who became England manager after Taylor, told Press Association Sport.

"Me and Graham, we were rivals, then there was David Pleat when he was at Luton, so it was a fantastic time and we were very lucky.

"Graham, of all people, he was a leader. He knew what he wanted, whether it was the coaching, or (later) on the radio.

"To have this happen, is very sad and I am really sorry. We all are (sorry) for his family, we all knew each other's families in those days.

"It has really hit us like a sledge hammer.

"We were never ready for something like that, because he was not an old person.

"We are all very upset."

Former England striker Gary Lineker also paid tribute to one of his old managers.

The Match of the Day presenter tweeted: "Very sad news that Graham Taylor has passed away. An outstanding manager, lover of football and thoroughly decent man."

Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson told the League Managers Association's website: "He was the natural choice to become the England manager when he did and this was the pinnacle of a hugely successful career.

"I have very fond memories of Graham. He was approachable, open and honest. If he could help you in any way, he always would. I was really shocked by this terrible news and I send my condolences to Graham's wife and all of his family."

Paul Gascoigne also paid tribute to his former England manager saying: "His enthusiasm for life and football was incredible."

Gascoigne was initially dropped by Taylor, which led critics of the manager to say he was unable to handle star players. A run of injuries - including the knee injury he suffered in the 1991 FA Cup final - meant he was unable to play a full part in Taylor's England reign.

The former Tottenham and Lazio star is trying to beat an addiction to alcohol but spoke fondly of Taylor when he heard the news of his death and passed on his condolences via A1 Sporting Speakers from rehab.

"I'm deeply sorry to hear about Graham Taylor. He will be a miss, and his enthusiasm for life and football was incredible. My thoughts go out to his family," he said.

Alan Shearer and Paul Merson, who both played under Taylor, also expressed their condolences.

Shearer tweeted: "Completely shocked by news of Graham Taylor. Always held him in the very highest regard - the man who gave me my first @england cap. So sad."

Merson, who was called up to the England squad by then-manager Taylor in 1991 ahead of Euro 1992, hailed the impact he had at Watford.

Taylor's achievements with the Hornets were remarkable. After taking charge in 1977, he led the club from the Fourth Division to the top tier.

They finished second in the First Division in 1983, qualifying for the UEFA Cup, and reached the FA Cup final the following year. He had a second spell at Vicarage Road from 1996 to 2001.

"I will be forever grateful," Merson told Sky Sports HQ. "He was a very honest man. What he did at Watford will never be done again in my opinion. To go through the leagues was phenomenal. To do what he did will never be done again."

Sir Elton John, Taylor's chairman at Watford, expressed his sadness via an Instagram post.

He wrote: "I am deeply saddened and shocked to hear about Graham's passing. He was like a brother to me. We shared an unbreakable bond since we first met. We went on an incredible journey together and it will stay with me forever."

Former England manager Steve McClaren, now at Derby, remembered Taylor's enthusiasm for the game.

"His enthusiasm for football showed all the way through. He was an original old-school manager, who had great success. He was well respected across the game and it is a sad loss for football," McClaren said.

Crystal Palace manager Sam Allardyce said in a club statement released to Press Association Sport: "I was shocked and saddened to hear of Graham's death. He was one of football's real gentleman who has been in and around the game for so many years and will be sorely missed.

"Everyone at Crystal Palace sends their deepest condolences to his family and friends".

Football Association chairman Greg Clarke also paid tribute to Taylor.

Clarke said: "On behalf of everyone at The FA, I am saddened to hear this news. My thoughts are with Graham's family and friends.

"He was a hugely popular and respected figure in the game, not just in English football but in international circles as well.

"I know Graham was very proud of his time as England manager and it was always great to see him at football grounds across the country. He had an exceptional knowledge and a love for the game that never diminished over the years. He will be much missed by us all at Wembley and St George's Park."

Taylor worked as a pundit for BBC Radio 5 live, and controller Jonathan Wall said: "His colleagues loved working with him, and for our listeners he was a much-loved pundit. He leaves us with wonderful warm memories and so many stories. Our thoughts are with his family at this sad time."

Burnley manager Sean Dyche was devastated after hearing the news of Taylor's death. Taylor was chairman at Watford when he gave Dyche his first managerial job at the club.

"I've just heard. From my point of view, he's a man who had a massive part in me taking over at Watford. For such a legend at Watford to be helping you have that chance, and helping me along the way as a young manager, I'm absolutely devastated with the news," Dyche said.

Premier League executive chairman Richard Scudamore said: "We are shocked and saddened to hear of the untimely passing of Graham Taylor.

"You will struggle to find a more decent individual in football; one who cared passionately about all levels and aspects of the English game who will be best remembered for his managerial roles at Aston Villa, Watford, Wolves and England.

"Graham's commitment and love of the sport saw him play a significant role in helping save Watford from administration as well as becoming a well-respected pundit and stalwart of the League Managers' Association.

"His insight, wit and self-deprecating humour will be missed."

Online Editors

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph