Taylor turns back clock at Watford

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The Independent Online

Graham Taylor yesterday turned back the clock nearly two decades and rejoined Watford as general manager.

Watford, rooted to the foot of the First Division, made the appointment less than 24 hours after the departure of Glenn Roeder.

Taylor, the former England manager who resigned as Wolves manager in December, will have "overall responsibility for running all aspects of the club on a day-to-day basis". His first game at the helm will be Saturday's home game against Ipswich.

Joining him at Watford could be his right-hand man at Molineux, Bobby Downes, who yesterday turned down the opportunity of staying on at the Midlands club in a youth-team capacity. Downes is also a former Watford player. A number of other ex-Vicarage Road men were also being linked with a possible place in the management set-up, including Pat Rice, Kenny Jackett and Luther Blissett.

Mike Walker, the former Norwich and Everton manager, was also thought to be in the running but Taylor was the No 1 choice after his original triumphant stay, which started back in 1977.

He marched the then Fourth Division strugglers up to League title runners- up in the space of five spectacular seasons with the financial help of his chairman, Elton John. The pop singer is now life president.

Rice became part of the club's success in the early 1980s after a lengthy spell at Arsenal and he has been at Highbury running the youth team since 1984. Whether he would be prepared to abandon that responsibility remains to be seen.

Roeder had been at Watford since July 1993 and had been handed a new one-year contract only 10 days ago before he was released.

"If you look back at Glenn's time at the club, he's done some very good things," the Watford chairman, Stuart Timperley, said. "I'm sure he has a future in football. He has ability, but sometimes the timing of the situation takes over."

Under Taylor, Watford were runners-up to Liverpool in 1982-83. A year later they enjoyed their first European campaign in the Uefa Cup and reached the FA Cup final when they lost 2-0 to Everton.

Taylor left for Aston Villa in 1987 and succeeded Bobby Robson as England manager in 1990. He quit after three years and then experienced a similarly frustrating spell at Wolves.