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BBC Radio 5 Live's Alan Green reports on Taylor's success at Watford
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Graham Taylor: Our future depends on careful spending
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Watford keeper Alec Chamberlain discusses Monday's result
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Tuesday, 1 June, 1999, 12:12 GMT 13:12 UK
Taylor-made for success
Highs, lows and now highs: Graham Taylor has bounced back
As Watford prepare for a return to the top flight after their dramatic 2-0 win over Bolton in the play-off final, BBC Sport Online salutes the man who made it all possible, Graham Taylor.

Watford's return to the big time owes much to a man who has experienced almost everything football has to offer.

Vilified for failing to lead England to the 1994 World Cup finals, Graham Taylor is a manager who knows what it is like to hit rock-bottom.

With his career in ruins, Taylor could have slipped away quietly. Instead he chose to stay and fight on and has achieved what no-one thought possible, promotion for a club that last experienced top flight football over a decade ago.

It is an incredible reversal of fortune for Taylor, whose career has turned full circle since he first left Vicarage Road in 1987.

The man who turned the Hornets from a Fourth Division family club into European contenders moved on to Aston Villa and then England before crashing back to earth after his meteoric rise.

Dismal failure in Sweden in the 1992 European Championships and no place in the 1994 World Cup left Taylor's England dream in tatters.

Amazing first stint

He was hounded out of international management, dubbed a turnip, and quickly forgotten as his successor Terry Venables fired the nation's imagination at Euro 96.

Taylor crept back into club management. First at Wolves, where he could not provide the quick-fix Molineux demanded, and then in the comfort of his adopted home, Watford.

Taylor has experienced a remarkable turnaround after being England manager
Supported wholeheartedly by chairman Sir Elton John, the former England boss, who remains the only man to lead Watford into the top flight, set about recreating the glories of yesteryear.

Taylor's formidable reputation, founded at Vicarage Road more than 20 years ago, was torn to shreds on the international scene, but the victory over Bolton in the First Division play-off final crowned a brave fightback.

When Taylor returned as general manager two years ago, any repeat of Watford's glory days seemed far-fetched.

The Hornets had stormed through the leagues, into the top flight in 1982, finished runners-up to Liverpool in 1983, ventured into Europe a year later and then onto Wembley and an FA Cup final.

Taylor left for Villa after 10 years at the club and when he returned in May 1997 they were languishing in Division Two.

Confounded the critics

Together with coach Kenny Jacket, a trusted foot-soldier from his first spell at the club, Taylor guided Watford to the Second Division championship immediately and followed that by sneaking into a First Division play-off place.

Watford's play-off win put them back in the top flight after more than 10 years
Watford's late surge came just when the bubble seemed to have burst. The Hornets were buzzing in early-season but lost the impetus in the New Year.

They were booed off at Vicarage Road in March after a goalless draw against struggling Bury.

But a dramatic late surge in form proved enough to claim a place in the top six.

How things have changed. With relatively little money to spend, Taylor has built a team who have confounded the critics and exceeded the expectations of their fans.

Whether they can stay in the top flight is another question.

But no-one can deny Taylor a wry smile for achieving a remarkable comeback against all the odds.

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31 May 99 |  Football
Watford back in the big time
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