Tributes paid to Graham Taylor at former England manager's funeral

02 February 2017 07:39

Sir Elton John led the tributes to Graham Taylor at the funeral service for the former England manager in Watford on Wednesday.

The former Watford, Aston Villa and Wolves manager died on January 12, aged 72, following a suspected heart attack.

Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger and Watford captain Troy Deeney were among the hundreds of mourners to attend a poignant service at St Mary's Church.

In Watford, the affection for Taylor was undimmed by his ignominious England reign from 1990 to 1993, which saw Taylor's team fail to qualify for the 1994 World Cup in the United States.

An estimated 1,250 to 1,500 people gathered, many in the gold, black and red of Watford Football Club, to pay their respects.

Taylor led the Hornets from the old Fourth Division to runners-up in the top flight in his first spell in charge, when John owned the club.

John was not present, but his tribute to Taylor was read by John Motson, the BBC commentator, as audio of the service was relayed to those outside.

The singer-songwriter relayed how it was Taylor who made him face the spectre of substance abuse.

"His lecture to me one day shook me to my core," said John, who in 1977 appointed Taylor as Hornets boss ahead of England's World Cup-winning captain Bobby Moore.

"To love somebody you must be prepared to be honest and open. And Graham was the most honest and open man I've ever met."

The number and diversity of those in attendance - from players who played under him to rival managers and colleagues from his latter career as a BBC radio pundit - were a tribute to the man.

And the most touching comments came from when his family shared their cherished memories, Karen and Joanne of 'Dad', Rihanna, Elsie and Jack of 'Grandad'.

"'Family first, except on match days', he used to say," daughter Joanne said.

His grandchildren added: "You always did make us feel so special and so loved.

"We'll continue to make you proud. You'll never know how much we'll miss you."

Source: PA

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