Graham Taylor OBE (15 September 1944 – 12 January 2017) was an English football player, manager, pundit and chairman of Watford Football Club. He was the manager of the England national football team from 1990 to 1993, and also managed Lincoln City, Watford, Aston Villa and Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Born in Worksop, Nottinghamshire, Taylor grew up in the industrial steel town of Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire, a town with which he still had many connections in later life and regarded as his hometown. The son of a sports journalist who worked on the Scunthorpe Evening Telegraph, Taylor found his love of football in the stands of the Old Show Ground watching Scunthorpe United. He became a player, playing at full back for Grimsby Town and Lincoln City.
After retiring as a player through injury in 1972, Taylor became a manager and coach. He won the Fourth Division title with Lincoln in 1976, before moving to Watford in 1977. He took Watford from the Fourth Division to the First in five years. Under Taylor, Watford were First Division runners-up in 1982–83, and FA Cup finalists in 1984. Taylor took over at Aston Villa in 1987, leading the club to promotion in 1988 and 2nd place in the First Division in 1989–90.
In July 1990, he became the manager of the England team. England qualified for the 1992 European Championships, but were knocked out in the group stages. Taylor resigned in November 1993, after England failed to qualify for the 1994 FIFA World Cup in the United States. Taylor was heavily criticised personally and professionally during his tenure as an England manager. Taylor faced even more criticism when a documentary, An Impossible Job, filmed the failed qualifying campaign and aired in 1994. He was filmed berating the German linesman during the controversial defeat to the Netherlands, in a World Cup qualifier.
Taylor returned to club management in March 1994 with Wolverhampton Wanderers. After one season at Molineux, he returned to Watford, and led the club to the Premier League in 1999 after back-to-back promotions. His most recent managerial role was manager of Aston Villa, to which he returned in 2002. He left at the end of the 2002–03 season. Taylor served as Watford's chairman from 2009 until 2012 where he continued to hold the position of honorary life-president. He also worked as a pundit for BBC Radio Five Live.Close