Club Statement | GT
The Hornets are deeply saddened to confirm the news that former manager and Honorary Life-President Graham Taylor OBE has died.
GT, 72, passed away this morning and the club is in a state of mourning at the shock death of its most successful and greatest ever manager. The club extends its deepest sympathies to Graham's wife, Rita, their daughters, grandchildren and other family members.
Watford FC chairman & CEO Scott Duxbury said: “As one, together as a club, we are all utterly devastated to learn of Graham’s passing.
“His achievements at this club remain unsurpassed - and they weren't just on the field. Watford is known as the pioneering family & community club in football because of Graham's drive to ensure the club became the heartbeat of the town.
“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.”
The Taylor family issued the following statement: “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.”
Graham first managed the club between 1977 and 1987, leading us on a remarkable journey from the Fourth Division to runners-up in the First Division and a maiden season in Europe.
Following spells in charge of Aston Villa, England and Wolves, Taylor returned to Vicarage Road in 1996, assuming managerial duties once again in 1997, winning Division Two at the first time of asking and then unexpectedly reaching the Premier League via a memorable victory over Bolton Wanderers in the Play-Off Final at Wembley Stadium the following season.
After leaving in 2001, and following another brief spell at Aston Villa, Taylor returned to the club in January 2009 as a non-executive director and became interim Chairman in December of the same year. He stepped down as Chairman in 2012 but retained the position of Honorary Life-President.
He was a regular Vicarage Road visitor in recent seasons and, with his family and many of his former players watching on, officially re-named a stand in his honour in November 2014.
Joining with Watford fans everywhere, the club will pay tribute to GT at Saturday’s home match against Middlesbrough.