It was with great sadness that all of us here at Teamer and Club Website learned last week about the death of former England manager Graham Taylor.
Graham cared a lot about grassroots football. He was an ambassador for the Football Foundation, for whom he opened countless facilities funded by the charity and championed schemes that helped support the grassroots game, including our own Club Cashback initiative – run in association with the Foundation.
Taylor was a a regular attendee at grassroots football events, which is where I first met him in 2009. In an interview for The Clubhouse, we took Graham ‘back to his roots’ to hear about his own experience of grassroots football and his thoughts on the game today.
It was obvious that he cared deeply about football and was passionate about maintaining a healthy grassroots game. That always remained the case in our various meetings through the years.
He championed the Respect programme, calling on professionals to set a better example with their behaviour on the pitch. He praised parents involved in grassroots football and raised concerns about rising costs in the game, suggesting that the FA should provide free Level One courses to all prospective new coaches.
He was always friendly, courteous, funny, giving of his time – a genuinely nice man from whom we could all learn a thing two from about treating people the right way and acting with dignity, sometimes even in the face of extreme provocation.
Mark Pougatch paid a lovely tribute on 5 Live Sport last Thursday after the sad news broke. If you haven’t yet heard it, you can listen to it below.
England manager Gareth Southgate described Taylor’s passing as “a sad day for English football” and we certainly echo those thoughts. Football has lost a good man.
— BBC 5 live Sport (@5liveSport) January 12, 2017