The statue that is the ‘perfect tribute’ to Watford’s greatest ever manager

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The Watford Observer has teamed up with Watford Museum and its curator Sarah Priestley to take a journey back to the town’s past through items or places of historical significance.

Number 44 in our ‘history of Watford in 50 objects’ is the statue in honour of Watford’s greatest ever manager, Graham Taylor.

Sarah said: “On June 26, 1977 up and coming football manager Graham Taylor started work in a new job as manager of Watford Football Club. He had managed Lincoln City and achieved promotion from Division Four in 1976, and had been chosen by Elton John ahead of better known names as being the right person to lead Watford to new heights.

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“Of course Elton’s choice was proved on the pitch with Graham leading Watford to top-flight football, an FA Cup Final and Europe. A second spell at Watford saw two promotions including our first win at Wembley at the 1999 Play Off Final.

“Despite the incredible football success, Graham Taylor was as much loved for his commitment to fans and the community, and the family club he created. A legacy that includes Watford Football Club’s continued commitment to the community and family ethos, and in the work of the Watford FC Trust.

“In 2018 Graham’s family unveiled a statue to him outside of Vicarage Road Stadium. The statue was commissioned by the club in recognition of his ‘unparalleled achievements as Watford’s greatest ever manager’.

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“The statue took award-winning sculptor Douglas Jennings a year to create and has become a beacon of the community spirit of Graham and the club. As well as a great likeness, the sculpture is particularly loved as it depicts the great man sitting on a bench with space for fans to sit beside him. A perfect tribute.”

Watford Museum has now reopened to the public. Admission is free but book first – call 01923 232297 or email [email protected] For more information, visit www.watfordmuseum.org.uk

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