Under-23's 07/08/2018

Sarll: “I'm Eager To Get My Teeth Into It”

Darren Sarll has spoken to the watfordfc.com cameras for the first time since joining the club this summer as part of Watford's Academy management team.

Ex-Stevenage manager Sarll will specialise in working with the older age groups as Head of Academy - Professional Development, and will work alongside Barry Quin, Head of Academy - Coaching and Development.

Meanwhile, Tony Parks has also joined the club as Head of Academy Goalkeeping.

Watch the full interview with Sarll above - no sign-up required - or read on below for some key snippets.

On his new role

“My role here is to specifically work with the older age groups, while also sharing the Head of Academy position.

“The biggest priority for me day-to-day is to work with the Under-18s and Under-23s, putting my experience into coaching and delivery, and managing the whole project.”

On his management history

“I had six years at Stevenage. I came through from Academy manager to first-team manager.

“It was a wonderfully brutal experience - frustrating, euphoric, and a real great learning curve for me. It was a really good experience and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I had two and-a-half years as manager, which I guess in this modern-day is not a bad term to have.”

On working with the other coaches

“There's some really good people here. First and foremost they are really good human beings, good personalities. We've got good staff - support staff, sports science, medical and recruitment staff.

“I'm excited to work with Hayden Mullins. When I came to watch Under-23 games here as manager of Stevenage, I always thought he came across very well and he was someone I'd like to work with, and hopefully help.

“As for Tony Parks, for me he is the best goalkeeping coach in the country at Academy level, and he would be up there in terms of first-team as well.”

First Team 06/08/2018

Gallery: The Graham Taylor Matchday

See a selection of images from The Graham Taylor Matchday 2018, below.

Graham Taylor OBE - Watford's greatest ever manager - was honoured by the club with a commemorative statue of the Hornets' late hero, on Saturday August 4, as part of The Graham Taylor Matchday.

Supporters - some too young to ever have seen Graham manage a side at Vicarage Road, and others old enough to remember the Golden Boys' remarkable rise through all four football divisions under the young manager from Lincolnshire - gathered at the apex of Vicarage Road and Occupation Road, outside the current Hornets Shop, to once again pay tribute to the great man.

Graham's extended family, former players and coaches, club officials, and old friends like football commentator John Motson, all turned out too, as a statue a year in the making was set to be unveiled a few hours before the first whistle of the annual pre-season game held in Graham's honour.

Chairman and CEO Scott Duxbury was the first to speak; recalling his first conversation with Graham, and the impact that had on the current stewardship and continuing direction of the club.

One of Graham's most trusted servants - both on the pitch, and later, in the dugout - Luther Blissett regaled the hushed crowd with tales of GT the manager, GT the coach, and GT the man.

It was then the turn of Joanne - Graham's daughter - to tell everyone a little bit more about 'Dad'. The Taylor family wanted so much to express their thanks for the warm and heartfelt tributes that they have heard and seen since his sad passing in January 2017.

The statue itself was then unveiled - a faithful likeness of Watford's greatest ever manager in the pose that encompassed his personality and passion so much - his refusal to sit in a dugout with a cover, until the fans on the terraces had a roof to cover their own heads come rain or shine.

There was time for photos, first with family and friends, and later with the assembled supporters.

While those who paid close attention could read one of Graham's greatest mantras: “Football is a simple game. It's a game for the man on the terraces; it's a game to excite people.”

And on the back of the bench: “Watford holds a special place in the hearts of myself and my family and always will. The kindness and love shown by supporters over the years will never be forgotten.”

That kindness and love was shown again as Rita Taylor, Graham's wife, greeted those who had come to be part of this moment in Watford's history.

Once the ceremony was said and done, the attention then turned to the game, held against Sampdoria, with both teams and all sides of the ground taking part in a minute's applause before kick-off.

It was perhaps fitting that Watford's captain, Troy Deeney, was the man to score for Watford after an early goal had put the Hornets behind.

A fitting tribute to Graham, on the day named in his honour, at the club he loved so much, where he is still loved so much now, too.