Do I not like that? The documentary that charted Graham Taylor's England career

13 January 2017 08:24

The filmmaker who captured Graham Taylor's turbulent reign as England manager hailed him as a "great man of honour" after his death at the age of 72.

Ken McGill directed the fly-on-the-wall documentary 'An Impossible Job', which followed Taylor and the Three Lions in their bid to qualify for the 1994 World Cup.

However, as results worsened, the focus of the Channel 4 documentary turned to the forlorn former Watford and Aston Villa manager and his antics on the touchline.

England ultimately failed to qualify and Taylor resigned as boss in November 1993 after suffering heavy criticism.

McGill remembers Taylor, who died on Thursday of a suspected heart attack, with great fondness and credited his sincerity under the most testing of circumstances.

"He was a great man of honour, you remember people like that because there are not many people like that," McGill told Press Association Sport.

"He was genuine and authentic; a real man of his upbringing and that is a rare thing. It's heart-breaking, I'm shocked."

The film, which was originally aired in January 1994, followed Taylor for 18 months and centred on England's crucial qualifier against Holland in Rotterdam in October 1993.

In a particularly memorable scene, Taylor can be seen venting his frustration at the fourth official after Ronald Koeman scored a free-kick in Holland's 2-0 win.

Taylor was angered that the same player had not been sent off earlier, and is then heard whispering to the linesman: "The referee has got me the sack. Thank him ever so much for that, won't you?"

Speaking about the incident some 20 years later, Taylor's opinion had not changed, saying he felt England were "cheated".

He told the BBC: "I could not believe what I was seeing. It was a goalscoring opportunity and Koeman should have gone. FIFA had made a very strong point in the weeks before the game that the denial of a goalscoring opportunity was a straight red card.

"He should have been sent off, absolutely."

Koeman then went on to score his crucial 61st-minute goal.

Taylor added: "That was when I lost it. I honestly felt that we were being cheated. The referee was favouring the home side, I really felt that, as the free-kick we had blocked was exactly the same.

"That was the worst I've ever been on a touchline.

"I try not to think about what would have happened next if Koeman had been sent off. I'm sure we would have qualified for the World Cup and I probably keep my job. But that's life."

In another stand-out scene that has gained a cult following, as Poland score at Wembley, Taylor asks: "Do I not like that?"

McGill has no regrets about the finished product, despite some of the mockery Taylor suffered in the aftermath, and indeed says he consulted Taylor before it was broadcast.

"We talked about it," the 57-year-old said. "He tried to protect other people from ridicule but everything about him was in the film.

"I was unhappy it caused such pain, that's not something you want, but I was very proud of the way it came out.

"Documentaries can roll people over and I'm not part of that school. It was a unique documentary.

"I worked very closely with him for a couple of years, I didn't see him much afterwards, but there was a trust between us."

Taylor's relationship with McGill was so strong he even helped smuggle the Scot and his film crew into the Holland game on the team bus - dressed in England kit.

McGill added: "Most of the time we kept our distance, we tried to blend in and we did quite well but there was the odd occasion we got quite close.

"We spent some time with him and he was really interested in us and what the cameraman was up to. I would have loved to have spent more time with him."

Source: PA


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