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Graham Taylor Funeral Sees Football Fans And Stars Gather In Watford

Fans queued for hours in the rain to pay their respects.

01/02/2017 12:39 | Updated 01 February 2017

Football stars and fans were set to gather to celebrate the life of former England manager Graham Taylor on Wednesday.

Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, former Aston Villa coach Tim Sherwood were among those who were in attendance.

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Former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson
Nick Potts/PA Wire
Ex-footballers John Barnes (centre) and Luther Blissett (left)

A tribute from singer Elton John, who is a former chairman and owner of Watford FC, was to be read out at the funeral, ITV reported.

Taylor’s coffin arrived draped in a Union Jack flag.

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Taylor's coffin draped in a Union Jack flag

Hours before his funeral began in at St Mary’s Church in Watford, fans had already begun to queue in the rain to pay their respects to the sporting legend.

 

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Taylor's wife, Rita, watches with family members as the coffin enters St Mary's Church

Ahead of his funeral, figures from the footballing world paid tribute on social media...

As well as fans...

He played as a defender for Grimsby and Lincoln City, before going on to manage Lincoln City, Watford, Aston Villa and the Wolverhampton Wanderers.

He was best known for his management of Watford, which under his leadership rose from the fourth to first division.

Taylor took England to the 1992 European Championship quarter-finals but resigned a year later after failing to qualify for the 1994 World Cup by not beating San Marino by enough goals, despite winning 7-1.

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Crowds arrive for the funeral in Watford on Wednesday
England needed to win by seven goals to make it through but San Marino’s David Gualtieri, who juggled jobs as a computer salesman and footballer, scored the World Cup’s fastest ever goal in just 8.3 seconds after an error by defender Stuart Pearce.

Taylor was vilified by the press for decisions he made, notably substituting Gary Lineker in his final game for England and depriving him of the chance to equal or break Bobby Charlton’s England goal record of 49.

The Sun took particular umbrage, superimposing his face onto a turnip with the headline: “Swedes 2 Turnips 1”.

Taylor is survived by his wife, Rita Cowling, and their two daughters.

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