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Graham Taylor: Talent, enthusiasm and kindness rolled into one great man
Onside 39 promotional banner - Graham Taylor

The Football Foundation’s Head of Communications, Rory Carroll, remembers what made the former England Manager Graham Taylor such a special Ambassador for the charity.

Graham Taylor: Talent, enthusiasm and kindness rolled into one great man

"He taught me so much. He gave people a chance, and loved trying to bring the kids through as well. And was a very, very funny man. He was a pal as well as a manager in my life."

Dion Dublin

It is a drizzly January morning at Hollyfield Primary School in Birmingham. Staff are marshalling pupils out onto the playground.  I am, unsuccessfully, willing the clouds to part and allow a ray of sun to brighten the joint project launch that we have arranged with our co-funder, the Cricket Foundation (now, appropriately perhaps, rebranded as Chance to Shine).

Enter Graham Taylor, beaming like a walking ray of sunshine and suddenly the overcast sky is forgotten by everyone.

Graham taylor at an opening

Within minutes he is deep in a game of cricket – another sport he loved – on the newly-designed playground with Warwickshire County Cricket captain, Darren Maddy, and a battalion of eager youngsters.

Organising the fielders, giving tips on catching, bowling and batting, everyone is caught up in the moment and avidly engaged in the activity on the new surface. A wheelchair-bound pupil has her day made as Graham, unprompted, makes her a crucial part of the occasion as he keeps wicket alongside her.

He also has everyone falling about laughing before long after he is cheekily bowled by a pupil.

His infectious enthusiasm during that session made it impossible for everyone there – the youngsters especially – not to be equally gripped by participating in sport purely for the love of it. Pupils, staff, media – everyone that day was inspired.

And that was the essence of Graham: he inspired people. That much was clear when you listened to the affection with which his former players spoke about him, and underlined further in the recent tributes to him.

This is an extract from the feature 'Graham Taylor: Talent, enthusiasm and kindness rolled into one great man' in Issue 39 of ONSIDE magazine.

Read the full article for free at the following links:


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