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Cherries: Former England boss Taylor hails Howe
Published : 07 May 2010 07:00:00
LIKE Eddie Howe, Graham Taylor won promotion in his early 30s after his playing career had been cruelly cut short by injury in his late 20s. Although only time will tell whether the similarities will end there, the former England boss has become an honorary member of Howe's growing fan club. Taylor was just 28 when he took his first step into management at Lincoln City and 31 when he guided the Imps to the Division Four title in 1976. Howe's exploits in masterminding Cherries' elevation from the bottom flight saw him become the youngest manager since Taylor to achieve the feat. Following his accomplishment with Lincoln, Taylor went on to enjoy unparalleled success at Watford, piloting the Hornets on a journey through all four divisions in five memorable seasons. His bitter-sweet tenure as England boss included the 1992 European Championships and inglorious failure to qualify for the World Cup two years later. Having served his apprenticeship in the lower leagues and gone on to lead his country, Taylor is well qualified to pass judgement on one of the newer recruits to the union of managers. Eddie Howe has done a fantastic job, said Taylor, speaking exclusively to the Daily Echo. I know it has been recognised in Bournemouth but it ought to be recognised nationally as well. Considering the club's recent history, for someone of his age to come in and win promotion in his first managerial appointment says it all to me. Although Bournemouth supporters will know exactly what I am talking about, people in the rest of the country may not be aware. If they were to take a minute to look at what's happened at Bournemouth over the past few years, to even suggest 18 months ago that they would get promotion would have been laughed at. Taylor was forced to hang up his boots at 28 due to a serious hip injury and was appointed manager of Lincoln in December 1972, with their record-breaking promotion coming during 1975-76. He said: I don't know how Eddie has approached it and times have changed so much. But I picked up very early that I couldn't be boss of the boys and one of the boys. At Lincoln, I went from being one of 24 players to someone who was managing 23 players. I learned very quickly that I had to be accessible to the players and hope they would appreciate what I was doing, but I also needed to have a distance as well. While Howe is expected to be linked with bigger posts over the summer, Taylor got his break at fourth division Watford after rejecting overtures from top-flight West Brom. I didn't like West Brom's approach, he said. They treated me as if they were doing me a favour and giving me a chance to prove myself. People will say Elton John offered me a nice contract so that played a part as well. But from an egotistical point of view, I wanted to go somewhere where nobody had done anything before. I would say there is a case for serving an apprenticeship, although that tends not to happen these days. A lot of foreign managers come straight in at the top end and we also have top ex-players who don't serve any apprenticeship and invariably fail. If he hasn't already, Eddie will get tapped up. He will just need to trust the feeling in the pit of his stomach. When Watford came in, I knew it was right. I don't know Eddie personally but he will know if it is right. Taylor and Howe will both be in attendance when the League Managers' Association hold their annual awards ceremony at the London Grosvenor Square Marriott Hotel on Monday. I have never met Eddie but I always watch people from a distance, said Taylor. He will remember this season for the rest of his life. Having started at the bottom, I have great respect for what managers do and achieve. In this country, we are running the risk of putting to one side teams like Bournemouth and my team Scunthorpe. One of the things the Premier League has done is split the football family. I'm not saying it didn't need looking at in the late 80s and early 90s because it did. But, on the other hand, you talk about the Bournemouths and the Scunthorpes and they don't get the exposure they deserve. I'm not saying it's easy at the top level because it isn't. But I still think managers like Eddie don't get the credit and respect they deserve. Asked whether he had any advice for Howe, Taylor, who now works as a pundit for BBC Radio Five Live, replied: He will know there are two sides to the coin. Enjoy the good times but you have to know how to take one or two knocks as well. In that respect, I learned very early on. They say players win matches and managers lose them. That's not true at all but you have to have the experience of both sides to get the full picture. If and when that comes, just recognise it is part and parcel of the game. Having a good working relationship with your chief executive and chairman is very important. And there are two people you should always phone when you stay overnight your wife and your chairman but not in that order!