Taylor changes mind over Villa

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The Independent Online

Aston Villa are today expected to announce that Graham Taylor, their most successful manager during the two decades of Doug Ellis' chairmanship, is to take charge of the Premiership side in succession to John Gregory.

Villa have called a lunchtime press conference to reveal their choice to replace Gregory, who is now with Derby. Despite strong speculation linking Roy Hodgson with the post – the former Blackburn, Internazionale and Switzerland manager has watched Villa's last two games – Taylor is understood to have had a change of heart about taking on the role after ruling out a comeback last Friday.

The 57-year-old Taylor, who left Villa as League runners-up in 1990 to take over from Bobby Robson with the England team, became a non-executive director of the club at Ellis's invitation last summer. He had announced his retirement from management on leaving Watford in May, but now looks set to be tempted back in tandem with one of Gregory's coaches, Stuart Gray, who was sacked as Southampton manager early this season and was Taylor's Villa captain.

If confirmed, Taylor's re-emergence would represent a remarkable turnaround in his fortunes, 30 years after he first entered management at Lincoln. After his England reign ended in failure, he was unable to lead Wolves back to the top flight, while two successive rises with Watford were followed by instant relegation. His appointment is likely to be on a temporary basis, with the merits and availability of Mick McCarthy and Alan Curbishley being considered in the meantime.

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