12 Jan 2017


The League Managers Association is deeply saddened that the former England Manager, and the first President of the LMA, Graham Taylor OBE has died at the age of 72.

In tribute to Graham, LMA Chairman Howard Wilkinson said: “My lifelong friend Graham Taylor, who I greatly admired, was instrumental in the formation of the LMA.

“As a club manager, he had always been very supportive of the Football League Secretaries’ & Managers’ Association and served as one of the managers’ representatives on its management committee.

“When he became England manager, he wanted to promote closer relationships between the FA and the elite club managers, especially in matters concerning the release of players for national team duty.

“When I was manager of Leeds United, Graham, Lawrie McMenemy, Olaf Dixon and John Camkin, who became the LMA’s first chief executive, worked together on determining the feasibility of forming an association with relevant aims and objectives which all the managers would want to join. This work came to fruition when the LMA was officially formed in June 1992, with Graham as our first President.

“Our careers in football ran absolutely parallel. We first met as young players representing English grammar schools, took our coaching qualifications at the same time and became managers in the lower reaches where we learned our profession. I started at Boston United while Graham was in charge of Lincoln City.

“We both ended up managing top flight clubs and had had many close-fought battles on the pitch on our way there.

“I greatly admired Graham for his honesty, tenacity, professionalism and his capacity for innovation which earned him richly deserved success. Above all, he was a true gentleman.

“Football has lost one of its greatest servants and our thoughts and condolences are with his wife Rita, his daughters Joanne and Karen and the rest of his family.”

LMA Board member Sir Alex Ferguson added: “Graham was one of the old school managers. He started as a very young man of 28, having suffered a career-ending injury as a player.

“His first appointment was at Lincoln City where he had to dig deep to make an impression in his new career.

“He applied himself to every facet of football management and was identified by Elton John, becoming his choice of new manager for Watford FC.

“Graham took Watford through the divisions and to a famous FA Cup Final before being released by Elton John to take the reins at Aston Villa.

“He was the natural choice to become the England manager when he did and this was the pinnacle of a hugely successful career.

“I have very fond memories of Graham. He was approachable, open and honest.  If he could help you in any way, he always would. I was really shocked by this terrible news and I send my condolences to Graham’s wife and all of his family.”

LMA Chief Executive Richard Bevan concluded: “Graham was a true friend and extremely valued LMA member, who will be missed by us all. Undoubtedly, he served as an inspiration to many throughout his career and was an incredibly loyal and respected manager. His impact on Watford Football Club cannot be understated, as someone who transformed the club twice and led them to five promotions across his two spells. His subsequent achievements at Aston Villa led to him being appointed as England manager, representing his country and the LMA with pride in his role as LMA President.

"He was a constant presence and offered a great deal of support to young British managers, passing on his invaluable experience as one of the few managers to have surpassed 1000 games. Our thoughts are with his family at this time.”

Graham Taylor’s Management Career



Promotion to FA Carling Premiership (1998/99)
Promotion to Nationwide Division One (1997/98)
Promotion to Football League Division One (1981/82)
Promotion to Football League Division Two (1978/79)
Promotion to Football League Division Three (1977/78)

Aston Villa:
Promotion to Football League Division One (1987/88)

Lincoln City:
Promotion to Football League Division Three (1975/76)



Lincoln City        1972 - 1977

Watford              1977 - 1987            

Aston Villa        1987 - 1990               

England              1990 - 1993            

Wolves                1994 - 1995            

Watford              1996 - 2001              

Aston Villa          2002 - 2003