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Former England Manager Graham Taylor Dies at Age 72

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistJanuary 12, 2017

Former England and Watford manager Graham Taylor attends the FA Cup semi-final football match between Crystal Palace and Watford at Wembley Stadium in London on April 24, 2016. / AFP / ADRIAN DENNIS / NOT FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING USE / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE        (Photo credit should read ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images)
ADRIAN DENNIS/Getty Images

Former England boss Graham Taylor has died aged 72, it was confirmed on Thursday.

The news was relayed by PA Sport, with tributes coming in from his former employers:

PA Sport @pasport

#Breaking Former England manager Graham Taylor has died aged 72, a spokesman for the family has said https://t.co/O4siF0RQit

Aston Villa FC @AVFCOfficial

We are deeply saddened today by news of the death of our former manager Graham Taylor. RIP Graham. #AVFC https://t.co/QCU1cCzCxN

Watford Football Club @WatfordFC

Everyone at #watfordfc is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of our most successful manager. We love you, Graham Taylor. #thankyouGT

BBC Sport shared a statement from Taylor's family:

BBC Sport @BBCSport

Graham Taylor's family have a released a statement, saying they are "devastated" by his loss. https://t.co/mdX9kV8cue

Reaction to Taylor's death poured in on social media:

Everton @Everton

The thoughts of all at #EFC are with the friends and family of former @england, @WatfordFC and @AVFCOfficial manager Graham Taylor. RIP. https://t.co/B0eet7KqIs

Sam Matterface @sammatterface

Having had the pleasure of his company and commentating with him, I must say I'm very sad to hear Graham Taylor has passed away. Lovely man.

Ashley Young @youngy18

Very sad to hear the news about Graham Taylor. A @WatfordFC legend and an absolute gentleman 🙏🏾

Peter Crouch @petercrouch

Sad news about Graham Taylor . Had so much respect for him . Gave me my premier league debut and I will always be thankful .

Pat Murphy @patmurphybbc

Graham Taylor's decency towards his media denigrators post-England marked him out as an exceptional man. Never forgot but never showed it.

Jake Humphrey @mrjakehumphrey

Will never forget joy on Graham Taylor's face when he helped me cover Watford's FA Cup semi-final...it meant the world to him...and now me😢

Taylor, who spent his playing career at Grimsby Town and Lincoln City, went on to manage the latter along with two spells apiece at Watford—where he would later become chairmanand Aston Villa, as well as a stint at Wolverhampton Wanderers.

He guided Watford and Villa to second in the English top flight in 1983 and 1990, respectively, and took the former to the FA Cup final in 1984. But it is his management of the Three Lions for which he will be best remembered.

After his controversial appointment in 1990, Taylor took England to the 1992 European Championships in Sweden but saw his side exit at the group stage having failed to beat the hosts, Denmark or France in their three games.

His controversial decision to take off Gary Lineker in what would be his final Three Lions appearance—preventing him from being able to equal Sir Bobby Charlton's then-record of 49 goals—was particularly unpopular, and combined with England's early exit, he was infamously branded as a "turnip" by The Sun.

Taylor's England career came to an end the following year, as the Three Lions failed to qualify for the 1994 FIFA World Cup, four years on from reaching the semi-finals at Italia '90.

Upon returning to club management after an unsuccessful spell with Wolves, he guided Watford to back-to-back promotions and into the Premier League, from which they were relegated the following season.

18 Mar 2000:  Watford Manager Graham Taylor during the FA Carling Premiership game against Sheffield Wednesday at Vicarage Road, Watford, England. Watford won 1 - 0. \ Mandatory Credit: Chris Lobina /Allsport
Chris Lobina/Getty Images

Taylor retired from management in 2001 with the Hornets back in Division One, briefly returning to the game for a short second stint with Villa between 2002 and 2003.

He then went on to become vice-president of hometown club Scunthorpe United—where he oversaw their promotion to the Championship in 2007—and returned to Watford in 2009 as a director and then the chairman, a position he held until 2012.

Two years later, the Hornets renamed the Rous Stand in his honour.

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