Football community gathers for funeral of Graham Taylor

The world of football has gathered in Watford for the funeral of former England manager Graham Taylor.

Taylor, who also managed clubs including Watford and Aston Villa, died suddenly last month at the age of 72.

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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."


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

Blissett hails Taylor effect as Watford win on funeral eve

Graham Taylor's special quality as a manager was "putting people first" before the football, Watford legend Luther Blissett has told ITV News as he arrived at the funeral of his former boss.

Blissett also joked that the current team's 2-1 victory at Arsenal on Tuesday night - the first win over the Gunners in England's top division since 1988 - was influenced by the club's most celebrated manager.

"If there's anything that shows that he's still with us - that game last night," he said. "If there was anybody who influenced the game last night it was Graham."

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

Watford to come to a standstill for Graham Taylor's funeral

Widespread tributes were paid to Graham Taylor following his unexpected death last month. Credit: PA

Thousands of people are expected to turn out to join leading football figures in paying their respects to Graham Taylor at the ex-England manager's funeral.

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

Several streets will be closed in Watford ahead of the 1pm service at St Mary's Church before a private family committal later in the day.


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