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Mourners gather at funeral of Graham Taylor





Mourners gather at funeral of Graham Taylor Mourners gather at funeral of Graham Taylor
  • Football manager had huge success with Watford before taking charge of Aston Villa and England
  • He died of a suspected heart attack leaving his wife Rita and daughters Joanne and Karen 'devastated'
  • Fans lined the route of his cortege today and watched the service on big screens outside the church  

Friends and family of football manager Graham Taylor have gathered for his funeral following his death from a suspected heart attack aged 72.

A service in memory of the former England and Aston Villa manager is being held at St Mary's church in Watford, the town whose team he took to the top of English football.

The service will be shown on two big screens outside the church for the 5,000 fans expected to come to pay their respects.

 The funeral is being held of  Graham Taylor, who managed Watford, Aston Villa and England before becoming a pundit

The funeral is being held of Graham Taylor, who managed Watford, Aston Villa and England before becoming a pundit

 

The 5,000 fans expected to turn up at St Mary's Church, Watford, where the service will be shown on big screens outside

 Fans in Watford scarfs and holding flowers lined the route of the funeral cortege this morning ahead of the service 

Fans in Watford scarfs and holding flowers lined the route of the funeral cortege this morning ahead of the service 

His wife Rita and daughters Joanne and Karen announced his death on January 12, saying: 'With the greatest sadness, we have to announce that Graham passed away at his home early this morning of a suspected heart attack.

'The family are devastated by this sudden and totally unexpected loss.' 

After Watford beat Arsenal last night, team star Troy Deeney said: 'It's Graham Taylor's funeral tomorrow and we would like to dedicate this result to his family.'

After beginning his managerial career at Lincoln, Taylor was recruited by Watford chairman Sir Elton John in 1977. 

Taylor took the club on an extraordinary rise from Division Four into the top tier of English football in a 10-year reign. He also led them to the 1984 FA Cup final before taking over at Aston Villa.

There, he got the Midlands club back into the First Division at the first time of asking and took them to a second-place finish before becoming England boss in 1990.

He guided England to the 1992 European Championship in Sweden, but the team were eliminated at the group stage.

 Fans have told of their sadness at the death of the man who led their team to glory. Many are expected at the service today

Fans have told of their sadness at the death of the man who led their team to glory. Many are expected at the service today

 Buildings in the city have been decked out in tributes and signs to the manager who took the town's team to the top

Buildings in the city have been decked out in tributes and signs to the manager who took the town's team to the top

  

Tributes to the former manager were paid in the order of service. Commentator John Motson will read a tribute by Elton John

 Pictures in the order of service show Taylor as a father and husband as well as a footballer and manager

Pictures in the order of service show Taylor as a father and husband as well as a footballer and manager

Elton John paid tribute to the manager after his death, writing on Instagram: 'I am deeply saddened and shocked to hear about Graham's passing.

'He was like a brother to me. We shared an unbreakable bond since we first met. We went on an incredible journey together and it will stay with me forever.

'He took my beloved Watford from the depths of the lower leagues to uncharted territory and into Europe. We have become a leading English club because of his managerial wisdom and genius.

'This is a sad and dark day for Watford. The club and the town. We will cherish Graham and drown our sorrows in the many brilliant memories he gave us.

'I love you Graham. I will miss you very much. My thoughts go out to Rita, Joanne, Karen and the whole Taylor family. @watfordfcofficial #GrahamTaylor #RIP.'


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