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Tuesday, 5 February, 2002, 12:10 GMT
Graham Taylor profile
Former England manager Graham Taylor
Graham Taylor is a non-executive director at Villa
BBC Sport Online profiles new Aston Villa manager Graham Taylor.

Graham Taylor has polarised opinion during his 29 years in football management.

Taylor was adored during his two spells at Watford, but villified while manager of England and Wolves.


At the risk of sounding boastful, in every other respect I have been successful in 29 years of management
Aston Villa manager Graham Taylor

Despite guiding clubs like Watford and Aston Villa to some of their greatest achievements, Taylor will always be most famously remembered as the turnip-headed manager of the England side that failed to reach the 1994 USA World Cup.

Taylor's career is proof that football really can be a cruel game.

An unspectacular player, he became the youngest person to qualify for a full FA coaching badge at the age of 21.

Aged 28, his playing career cut short by injury, Taylor became manager of Lincoln City, winning the Fourth Division Championship for the club with a record 74 league points.

First Villa spell

In 1977, he joined Watford, taking them from the Fourth to the First Division in five seasons under the chairmanship of his friend Elton John.

A year after their 1982 promotion to England's top division, Taylor's team, which included John Barnes and Luther Blisset, finished championship runners-up. They went on to reach the 1984 FA Cup final, losing to Howard Kendall's Everton.

In 1987, he became Aston Villa manager, taking them into the First Division and then to second place in the league in 1990.

Graham Taylor exhorts his players during England's European Championship defeat to Sweden in 1992
Graham Taylor's England career foundered

At the end of the 89/90 season, Taylor left Villa to become the England manager, stepping into the shoes of Bobby Robson, who had just guided the team to the semi-finals of the 1990 World Cup.

Despite enjoying the longest unbeaten start of any England manager (going 12 games without defeat), England failed to win a single game at the 1992 European Championships

The substitution of England hero and captain Gary Lineker in the player's final game for the national team, a 2-1 defeat to Sweden, proved a highly unpopular move and Taylor's relationship with the press and public turned sour.

Watford triumph

After failure to qualify for the 1994 World Cup, he was lampooned on the back of the Sun newspaper, depicted as a turnip with the headline 'For crying out loud - GO'.

Quitting the England job after the World Cup debacle, Taylor returned to club management with First Division club Wolverhampton Wanderers in 1994, but resigned three years later after failing to win promotion.

In 1996, nine years after quitting Vicarage Road, Taylor returned to Watford under his former Chairman Elton John.

With a team assembled at the cost of 1m, Taylor guided the club to the Premier League after a 2-0 play-off victory over Bolton, although the team were relegated at the end of their debut season.

After a promising start to their promotion campaign, Watford faltered and Taylor announced that he would retire at the end of last season.

Soon after retiring Taylor told the Daily Express newspaper he would still like to take charge of an international team.

"England will never come again and neither would I manage a home country.

"But to be a foreign national manager, yes, I would like that,".

"At the risk of sounding boastful, in every other respect I have been successful in 29 years of management. It's international football where I failed.

"I would like to put that right before I am finally done with this game."

His return to club management shows that Taylor has been unable to turn away from the game he has devoted his life to.

Since retiring Taylor has kept himself busy working as a media pundit and also as non-executive director at Villa.

Now he is back in the Villa Park hot-seat.

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 ON THIS STORY
BBC Sport's Andy Swiss
"Taylor has returned to the media spotlight"
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