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Monday, 4 June, 2001, 12:37 GMT 13:37 UK
Taylor magic required at Villa

BBC Sport Online's Mandeep Sanghera assesses the tough task facing Graham Taylor as he agrees to join crisis-torn Aston Villa's boardroom.

Graham Taylor has certainly not opted for a quiet life after retiring from Watford and football management in general.

The man who has sampled both football's spectacular peaks and its unforgiving troughs has taken a boardroom role at an Aston Villa outfit heading for red alert.

Such is disenchanted air hanging over the club, one disgruntled fan is standing in the General Election with the sole aim of trying to oust chairman Doug Ellis.

Taylor now faces one of the toughest tasks of his career in helping steer Villa, from his advisory role, towards the kind of success he led them to in his spell as manager.

Aston Villa boss John Gregory
Gregory's feathers may have been ruffled
During his tenure between 1987 and 1990, the club finished second in the league as they began to realise their potential.

Taylor's exploits saw him elevated to England boss.

Renowned as the impossible job, it proved exactly that.

Taylor was reviled and ridiculed as the country failed to qualify for the 1994 World Cup.

He departed the England hotseat and went on to take up the manager's post at Wolves.

Having already spent millions in their bid for top-flight status, Wanderers heaped plenty of pressure on Taylor as the man to realise their dream.

His Moilneux reign proved more the stuff from which nightmares are made and it seemed his magic touch at club level had left him.

But he confounded the doubters during his second spell at Watford.

Gareth Southgate
Southgate is disgruntled at Villa

Now, his new role at Villa will require him to concoct some of his best wizardry to restore pride and prosperity to the ailing club.

Ellis says that the new boardroom arrival will not interfere in team affairs.

So from his advisory standing, Taylor immediately has to contend with a possible player exodus as well unhappy fans staying away as their relationship sours with Villa.

On the latter front Taylor may have influential suggestions to offer.

He spent a year as general manager at Watford when he placed a heavy emphasis on establishing a family ethic at Vicarage Road and luring supporters back.

Additionally, he made sure the club had a firm launch-pad on which to build.

But player matters may prove more difficult to resolve.

Gareth Southgate seems determined to leave and a public dispute highlighted in the national press has only stoked the fire.

Fellow England international David James' future has also been called into question, while Paul Merson has made his unrest clear recently.

David Ginola
Ginola for Man City?

David Ginola could depart to join up again with Kevin Keegan at Manchester City.

Steve Harrison, assistant to manager John Gregory as well as goalkeeping coach Paul Barron are rumoured to interest Middlesbrough.

And, along with the fan standing for election to try and get rid of Ellis, just to round matters off Taylor's appointment might not go down well with Gregory.

Taylor knows all about working with Ellis and once described their association as "a love hate relationship - he loved me."

All in all it makes for an explosive cocktail and whether Taylor, also set to take on media work, can extinguish the flames of discontent should make for some interesting viewing.

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