Former England coach Graham Taylor dies, 72

Graham Taylor in 1996.Graham Taylor in 1996.
Graham Taylor in 1996.
Graham Taylor, the England coach derided for failing to qualify for the 1994 World Cup after flourishing as a club manager working for pop star Elton John, has died. He was 72.

Taylor, who won admiration by leading Aston Villa and Watford into the top-flight in the 1980s, died yesterday of a suspected heart attack.

“The family are devastated by this sudden and totally unexpected loss,” a family statement said. Taylor is one of only four managers to have taken the same team from the fourth to the top division in English soccer, and he achieved it within five years at Watford. Elton John, who owned Watford during Taylor’s stints in charge, said it was a “sad and dark day” for the club. (X-ref Sport P50)