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Howard Webb leads tributes to former official Jack Taylor


Howard Webb hailed the legacy Jack Taylor left on refereeing in this country as tributes poured in for the former official who has died at the age of 82.

The Football League announced this afternoon that Taylor OBE, who they described as "perhaps the finest English referee of all time", had passed away at his Shropshire home.

Taylor officiated in more than 1,000 matches during a career than lasted more than 30 years. He also took charge of more than 100 international fixtures, including the 1974 World Cup final between West Germany and Holland in Munich, where he made history by awarding the first-ever penalty in a World Cup final.

He also left a lasting impression on fellow official Webb, who in 2010 became the first Englishman since Taylor to referee a World Cup final when he took charge of the clash between Spain and Holland in Johannesburg.

Webb said: "Jack was the referees' referee: he was a cool character who exuded authority.

"The great thing about him was that he always had time to pass on advice and I don't think my career would have progressed the way it did without Jack.

"I'm very sad that I'll no longer be able to turn to him for advice and laughter but refereeing in this country is much richer for Jack Taylor."

Mike Riley, general manager of the Professional Game Match Officials, echoed those thoughts, saying: "Every referee of our generation looked up to Jack Taylor because he set the standard. His performances at the 1974 FIFA World Cup inspired a whole generation of referees in this country.

"I was fortunate to travel to the 2010 World Cup Final in South Africa with Jack for him to watch Howard Webb. He was incredibly proud that another Englishman had taken charge of the biggest game in world football.

"But then that was Jack, he was not only very well respected throughout the game by players and managers, he was also an extremely nice man and wonderful fun to be around.

"And he never stopped inspiring match officials. Over the last five years he has played an important role for PGMOL passing on his many years of experience to tomorrow's referees. We will miss him greatly."

Taylor was inducted into FIFA's Hall of Fame before working with the Football League following his retirement from refereeing, which included serving on The League's Referees Committee.

Football League chairman Greg Clarke said: "Jack Taylor set the benchmark for refereeing, not just in this country but across the world, and in later life he applied the same levels of integrity, commitment and sheer love of the game to his other roles in football."

Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore added: "Jack was one of English football's finest ambassadors who reached the pinnacle of refereeing and, until his very last days, continued to help the development of young referees. The game has lost a great servant and a true friend."

Wolves also paid tribute to Taylor, who was born in Wolverhampton and had a spell as commercial manager at Molineux in the 1980s following his retirement, as well as being involved in matchday television work in recent years.

Wolves announced their players will wear black armbands during tomorrow's friendly at Walsall and flags at Molineux will be lowered to half-mast.