The Football Writers' Association would like to offer our condolences to the family of Graham Taylor, who passed away suddenly after a suspected heart attack.
Graham was a great football man and good friend of the FWA, who received our Tribute award at the Savoy Hotel in 2002 for his achievements in the game, particularly as manager of Watford, Aston Villa and England.
At the dinner, Graham spoke about his relationship with football writers, and recalled his early days working in the pressbox at Scunthorpe United, where his father Tommy was football reporter for the Scunthorpe Telegraph. Tommy was also a Hayters correspondent responsible for sending through goalflashes to BBC's Grandstand and newspapers, and Graham recalled the first time he had been entrusted with the stopwatch as a young boy. “My father said to me 'You've got to get this right, it's a matter of record' and I realised then how important was the job of a football reporter,” said Graham.
As a manager he always had time for the press and became firm friends with many reporters, even though he suffered a great deal of criticism during his time as England manager. He also enjoyed a fine career in the media after management, as a well-respected radio commentator and expert.
Most of all, we remember Graham for his ready smile, unfailing courtesy and willingness to talk with great knowledge about the game he loved.
He will be sadly missed.