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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."

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