Former England manager and footballer Graham Taylor has died at the age of 72.
The news of the death came on 12 January 2017 in an announcement from Graham’s family. The 72-year-old is said to have suffered from a suspected heart-attack. Taylor is most remembered for managing football teams: England, Watford and Aston Villa.
The former England manager’s family say that they are “devastated by this sudden and unexpected loss”.
Tributes have poured in from the football community. Many remember his humorous spirit and phrases, such as ‘Can we not knock it?’, which he made popular.
Alan Shearer, one of his former England players, tweeted, “Completely shocked by news of Graham Taylor”. He wrote that he “always held him in the very highest regard”.
Gary Lineker also paid tribute, tweeting that the news was “very sad”. Linker wrote that Taylor was an “outstanding manager, lover of football and thoroughly decent man”.
The FA have also paid tribute, stating that they are “deeply saddened” to learn of the passing.
Sir Alex Ferguson who ‘pitted’ his ‘wits’ with Taylor on numerous occasions said he had ‘fond memories’ of Taylor. The two came head to head when managing Manchester United and Aston Villa.
Taylor’s humour did not let up despite the challenges that he faced. Taylor faced a major challenge when his England team failed to qualify for the 1994 World Cup. Despite being in a ‘unique’ position his honesty drew in many admirers.
After returning to Watford in 2009 Graham was appointed interim chairman. He resigned from the position as chairman in 2012.
Taylor however retained his position as Honorary Life President of the club up until his death. In 2014, Watford renamed the Rous Stand, Graham Taylor, to honour his achievements.
Taylor was a respected member of the football community and his contributions to football will be remembered.
Graham leaves behind his wife, Rita and his daughters Joanne and Karen.