14 Jan Watfords Tribute
Watford paid tribute to Graham Taylor, the club’s “greatest manager of all time”, ahead of their Premier League match against Middlesbrough at Vicarage Road.
Taylor, who enjoyed two hugely successful periods with the Hornets, died on Thursday aged 72 following a suspected heart attack.
Fans laid flowers, scarves and club shirts outside the stadium while “There’s only one Graham Taylor” was chanted prior to kick-off, and throughout the one-minute applause, with some fans in tears. The Middlesbrough supporters also sang Taylor’s name.
Watford played a collection of Taylor’s favourite songs ahead of the Premier League clash and a black and white picture of the former England manager also adorned the front cover of the programme. “The greatest Watford manager of all-time,” accompanied the image.
Supporters in the Rookery Stand joined together to hold placards ahead of the game which spelt out “GT” with a heart symbol.
Scott Duxbury, the club’s chairman and chief executive, honoured Taylor in his programme notes.
“Good afternoon and welcome to Vicarage Road,” Duxbury wrote. “As one, together as a club, we were all utterly devastated to learn of Graham’s passing on Thursday.
“His achievements at this club remain unsurpassed – and they weren’t just on the field as Watford supporters everywhere will be aware.
“Watford still enjoys the reputation of being the original pioneers of the family club – a club so deeply rooted in its community because of the drive and commitments to see this happen from Graham.
“That the club remains the heartbeat of the town today is testament to the way Graham shaped things in his image; warm-hearted, caring, inclusive and with a will to succeed and progress at all times.
“Together with Sir Elton John, Graham built Watford FC. We will treasure the legacy he created and honour him by continuing to develop this wonderful football club. Please join us today by paying tribute to Graham.”
During his first stint in charge at Watford, Taylor took the club from the Fourth Division to a second-placed finish in the top flight. He also guided Watford to the only FA Cup final of their history – a 2-0 defeat against Everton in 1984 – and European football.
Taylor left for Aston Villa, and latterly England, before he returned for a second spell at Vicarage Road to take them back to the Premier League.
A stint as Watford chairman followed while the Rous Stand at Vicarage Road was renamed after him in 2014.