Remembering Graham Taylor: Funeral for Midlands football legend takes place

The football world gathers to remember former England, Aston Villa, Wolves and Lincoln City manager Graham Taylor at his funeral today. The 72-year-old died earlier this year.

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Elton John's tribute to Taylor: 'We were Batman and Robin'

Sir Elton said: 'As chairman and manager we were Batman and Robin.' Credit: PA

Sir Elton John has paid tribute to Graham Taylor as a "genius from Lincolnshire" who took him to "the stars and back" as Watford manager.

In a speech read on his behalf by football commentator John Motson at Taylor's funeral, Sir Elton compared the manager who led Watford from the fourth division to the first and to an FA Cup final to his famous lyricist.

"It's odd that two of the most important people in my life Bernie Taupin and Graham both hail from Lincolnshire," Sir Elton said.

The singer said Taylor was "without doubt like a brother" and "a man that I befriended and loved from the first day that we met at my house in Windsor", although he accepted the pair made "an unlikely twosome from the outside".

Sir Elton said he and Graham Taylor formed an 'unstoppable force of nature'. Credit: PA

"It was a partnership so binding and enjoyable that equalled my relationship with my brilliant lyricist.

"(We were) fiercely ambitious, revolutionary in our approach to a football club and its community. ... As chairman and manager we were Batman and Robin."

Sir Elton's speech also revealed Taylor had lectured the singer on his substance abuse that "shook me to my core".

"Graham was the most open and honest man I ever met," he said, adding that he had "no airs or graces" but was "just a genius from Lincolnshire".

He ended: "He is a legend in this community, in football and in life."


Fans applaud Graham Taylor's coffin

Fans applauded coffin of Graham Taylor Credit: ITV News Central

Fans applauded as the coffin of former Midlands manager Graham Taylor was driven away following his funeral service.

There were exclamations from fans as the sun broke through the clouds just after the coffin was brought out of the church, after heavy cloud and drizzle dominated the service.

Stars from the football world including Burton manager Nigel Clough were at the funeral, with many standing together to applaud a the cortège drove away.

Members of Taylor's family gave their personal memories of him during the service, while a tribute written by Elton John, who Taylor worked with during his time at Watford, was also read out.

Fans applauded coffin of Graham Taylor Credit: ITV News Central
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Graham Taylor carried in patriotic coffin in front of fans

The former England manager's coffin was draped in the Union flag. Credit: PA

Thousands of Watford supporters have gathered in the town to pay respects to former England manager Graham Taylor at his funeral.

Thousands of Watford fans turned out to pay their respects to the club's most celebrated manager. Credit: PA
The supporters gathered behind barriers opposite St Mary's Church. Credit: PA
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Football figures join mourners at Graham Taylor's funeral

Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson attended with his son Darren. Credit: PA

Leading figures from English football have arrived to pay their respects to ex-England manager Graham Taylor in Watford as Hornets fans turned out to honour the club legend.

The former Watford and Aston Villa boss died suddenly last month of a suspected heart attack at the age of 72.

Former Watford stars Luther Blissett and John Barnes arrived to honour the man who led Watford from the fourth division to the first. Credit: ITV News
Sir Trevor Brooking and Pat Rice arrived alongside around 450 others at St Mary's Church. Credit: PA
BBC commentator John Motson also paid tribute to Graham Taylor, who became a respected broadcaster after retiring from the sport. Credit: PA


Funeral for much loved football manager begins

Funeral underway in Watford Credit: ITV News Central

The funeral for much loved football manager Graham Taylor has begun in Watford.

Once the coffin had been carried into the church, the hundreds of fans who had gathered to see it arrive remained outside to hear the service on loud speakers.

Those stood outside joined the congregation inside to sing the opening hymn, 'Lead us Heavenly Father, Lead us'. The hymn was sung at the wedding of Graham and his wife Rita back in 1965.

Elton John tribute to be read out at Graham Taylor funeral

Elton John tribute to be read out at Graham Taylor funeral Credit: ITV News Central

A tribute written by pop star Elton John will be read out at the funeral of football manager Graham Taylor this afternoon.

Several pieces of classical music will he played during the service, including Elgar's Nimrod and hymns such as 'Abide With Me' and 'Guide me oh thou great redeemer'.

Tributes will also be read by his children and grandchildren.

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