Soccer: Elton John leads tributes to ex-England boss Taylor

Thu Jan 12, 2017 1:40pm EST
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(Reuters) - Rock star Elton John led the tributes to former England manager Graham Taylor on Thursday, saying the man he saw as a brother had turned his beloved team Watford into a European contender.

Taylor, who also managed Aston Villa and Wolverhampton Wanderers, died of a suspected heart attack aged 72, his family said.

"We shared an unbreakable bond since we first met. We went on an incredible journey together and it will stay with me for ever," said John, who was chairman and owner of Watford during Taylor's tenure.

"He was like a brother to me," John wrote on his Instagram account.

"He took my beloved Watford from the depths of the lower leagues to unchartered territory and into Europe. We have become a leading English club because of his managerial wisdom and genius."

Leading names in the game, including many managed by Taylor, queued up to pay tribute.

Alan Shearer tweeted: "Completely shocked by news of Graham Taylor. Always held him in the very highest regard - the man who gave me my first @england cap. So sad."

Another ex-England striker, Dion Dublin, said: "He was a very, very, funny man. When I played under him at Aston Villa he taught me so much."

Gordon Taylor, chairman of the Professional Footballers' Association, described his namesake as "a real gentleman".   Continued...

FILE PHOTO - Former England soccer manager Graham Taylor crosses the finish line of the 2004 London Marathon, Britain April 18, 2004. REUTERS/David Bebber/File Photo