"The first interview"
By Oliver Phillips
GRAHAM TAYLOR touched the lives of all who lived in the locality. The fans walked with heads held higher and those who did not care a jot for football, found the profile of their town raised nationally and internationally.
He certainly touched my life, enriched it and changed the perceptions of my job. Whereas no one envied me going to Darlington to cover a Fourth Division game in August 1975, three years later I was being asked: "How did you get a job that good?"
When he was manager of Lincoln, I quoted him from an interview I had read. In it, he talked then of taking the club to the people instead of expecting people to come to the club. It seemed very relevant to the pre-Taylor Watford scenario.
I first met Graham, two years later, in July 1977, when he called at the Watford Observer offices. We talked in the canteen and then adjourned to an interview room where he continued to outline his philosophy and plans.
You could not help but be struck by the fact � here was a man who knew his direction and his intentions and it was just a matter of who was going to join him on the journey.
It was almost three hours later that I gave him a lift to Watford Junction. I returned to the office and wrote up the salient points while the interview was still fresh in my mind.
A week or so later, he said he wanted to have a word with me. He explained that he had no objection to being taped when interviewed but, he explained, as a matter of courtesy, he would like to be informed first.
I explained that I had not taped him, but had made a few notes.
"But you had it in there, in the paper, word for word. How did you remember all that?" he asked, plainly suspicious.
I pointed out that my recall could be all but total in such instances and there was another factor to be considered.
"Well," I volunteered, honestly if nervously. "You do repeat yourself, Graham."
Happily, he also repeated his habit of gaining promotion, time after time.
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