Taylor’s Post-England Blues
Karren’s Call Came Before Wolves Summons
Graham Taylor has today revealed in an opinion piece about Andy Gray that he could have gone to a West Midlands club other than Wolves following his departure from the England job.
Taylor moved in at Molineux in succession to Graham Turner in March, 1994, but used his regular Daily Express column this morning to let on that he first received an approach from elsewhere on the patch.
“Shortly after I parted company with England in (November) 1993, I was called by Karren Brady and offered the job as Birmingham manager,” he wrote.
“She was the first female I encountered at boardroom level in football but there was no way I was going to take the job she was offering. I had already managed Aston Villa and I valued my life!”
Taylor subsequently considered Wolves to be a safe enough distance from the Second City and clearly didn’t burn his bridges in the claret and blue corner, being re-appointed by Villa following his second spell with Watford.
And the 66-year-old’s Villa Park links have not stopped him criticising Gray over the behaviour that has this week led to the ex-Villa and Wolves striker’s sacking by Sky Sports.
He says the ‘blokey’ environment he first knew in the game did not leave him with ‘any sort of sexist viewpoint – in fact, it did quite the opposite.’
“Although Andy is younger than me, he would have had a similar football upbringing. But it is no excuse: he should be old enough and mature enough to see the world has changed and that football has changed.
“The wives of directors and the management team were previously not allowed in the boardroom. Instead, they had a separate room to socialise in.
“That was not exclusive to Watford as most clubs had a similar set-up. But I didn’t think it right, so I made the boardroom inclusive to both men and women. My wife, Rita, never complained too much about going to the ladies’ room but I found it embarrassing and, quite honestly, too many men in one room for too long can become very boring.”
Taylor, who, like then chairman Jonathan Hayward, took his wife along when Wolves played in Venice in the 1994-95 Anglo Italian Cup, made one surprise admission at the end of his piece.
“If there are people reading this who still believe that women do not know as much about football as men,” he continued, “consider this: apart from when I was at England, Rita had a hand in picking every one of my teams. And it was very often the good hand!”