Former England manager Graham Taylor dies aged 72

Taylor also had two terms in charge of both Watford and Aston Villa over the course of his career

Graham Taylor

Image: Ross Kinnaird EMPICS Sport

Former England manager Graham Taylor, who also led clubs including Watford and Aston Villa, has died at the age of 72.

Taylor, who grew up in Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire, took charge of England between 1990 and 1993.

His family said in a statement: "With the greatest sadness, we have to announce that Graham passed away at his home early this morning of a suspected heart attack.

"The family are devastated by this sudden and totally unexpected loss."

During a career spanning almost 50 years, he spent a decade at Watford, taking the Hertfordshire club from the fourth division to the first division in only five years.

While his time in charge of the national side was difficult, the team did qualify for the Euro '92 finals in Sweden.

But his charges failed to progress beyond the group stage.

In addition, Taylor substituted striker Gary Lineker in the final group match when a goal was required.

Nevertheless, Taylor kept his position, but resigned in November 1993 after England had failed to qualify for the 1994 World Cup in the United States.

In recent years, Taylor was a regular contributor to Newstalk's Off The Ball looking back on Saturday's Premier League games.

Off The Ball presenter Ger Gilroy remembered his on-air relationship with Taylor after the news was announced on Thursday afternoon.

"We had the real privilege of working with Graham Taylor over a period of several years on Off the Ball and he was unfailingly one of the nicest people we have ever dealt with," Gilroy said.

"I particularly remember one FA Cup weekend where we did a sports movies and documentaries special when we had Graham on to talk about Do I Not Like That, the documentary made about his time in charge of England. Although it was clearly difficult subject matter for him to revisit he was incredibly candid, self-deprecating and funny about a period of his career that had ended in such public failure.

"We also did another great piece with Graham and Paul McGrath where they recounted their time at Aston Villa when Graham effectively saved the career of one of our greatest ever players, so it's fair to say that Irish football will always owe Graham Taylor a debt."

The former England captain Alan Shearer said on Twitter: "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."

Stoke City striker Peter Crouch tweeted: "Sad news about Graham Taylor. Had so much respect for him.

"Gave me my premier league debut and I will always be thankful."