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Football Foundation Ambassador
Graham Taylor OBE: A Tribute

This issue of Top Corner is dedicated to our friend and Ambassador, Graham Taylor, who unexpectedly passed away last Thursday.
 
Graham was a supremely talented manager, whose former players showed fierce loyalty and fondness towards him. He was an insightful and entertaining commentator on the game. And he was a passionate supporter of grassroots sports – especially football and cricket.
 
We were incredibly honoured when Graham agreed to become an Ambassador for the Foundation. His enthusiasm when out visiting our projects was infectious, and everyone always went home with a smile as big as his. We were therefore deeply saddened to hear that he had passed away. He will be missed greatly by us all.
 
You can read our full statement in tribute to him here. Thank you Graham and rest in peace.

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Victory Pitch
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This month we spoke to former Premier League referee, Chris Foy  and now head of Community and Public Engagement for the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL).

Q: Have you seen the provision of grassroots football facilities improve during your career?
Absolutely. From cold, damp changing rooms with no showers to the complete opposite. Things have really progressed, making your sporting day a more enjoyable one.

Q: What was the transition from refereeing at amateur level to professional like?
It was more of a steady transition really. Gradually moving up to different levels of competition and taking in all the advice offered to learn and grow at that particular level.

Q: What is the best piece of advice you've ever received?
Learn from the experience, ensuring that you don’t make the same mistake twice.
 
Q: What would you say was your favourite/best game to be involved in?
Many games for many differing reasons. However refereeing the 2010 FA Cup Final between Chelsea and Portsmouth was a special day.

Q: What have you been up to since hanging up your whistle?
I am now the Head of Community and Public Engagement for the PGMOL, working with the media, places of education and the footballing family. It is a really exciting, interesting and enjoyable role.

Q: And if you could take one book to a desert island what would it be?
A Martina Cole crime thriller!
Following the recent sad news of Graham Taylor's passing, this month’s Top Five features some moments from his life that remind us what a special man he was.

1. "Hey, you're talking about another human being, so just watch your language, alright?". That was how Graham stood up to someone in the crowd abusing John Barnes in England’s game against San Marino in 1993. Watch the clip here.

2. Graham was someone who recognised the huge importance of fans to the game. He regularly took the time to write to fans personally, something highlighted over the last week as people took to Twitter to share their 'letters from Graham.' Click here to read some of the touching correspondence.
3. Back in 2008, on one of his many ceremonial duties as a Football Foundation Ambassador, Graham visited Hollyfield Primary School in Birmingham. He only had a small window of time to attend the event, but ended up staying for hours, playing cricket with the youngsters and Warwickshire captain, Darren Maddy, answering their questions and signing autographs for them. It was typical of Graham’s dedication and generosity.

4. He was an incredibly successful club manager. He took Watford from the Fourth to the First Division in just five years, later leading them to First Division runners-up in '83 and FA Cup finalists in '84. Having recently had one of the club's stands named after him, Graham's legacy will live on for generations at Vicarage Road. Graham was also successful at Aston Villa, leading the club to promotion in '88 and finishing second in the First Division just two seasons later. 

5. Having entered commentary after retiring, Graham worked closely with numerous people in the media. He had a lasting effect on all of those he came across. The BBC's Mark Pougatch summed this up in a fitting tribute on air. 
The images below show the conversion that took place at Market Bosworth Sports Club in Leicestershire thanks to a £370,582 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund. This transformation is testament to the great work that our investment does for grassroots facilities throughout the country. 
  • Watch as some Arsenal stars link up with the famous Dunking Devils for some outrageous football/basketball trick shots.
     
  • This month saw Malaysian Super League's Mohd Faiz Subri win the FIFA Puskas Goal of the Year award for his free-kick that almost defies the laws of physics! 
     
  • And someone we think is a real star: five-year-old Sunderland fan, Bradley Lowery, who suffers from a rare cancer, is led out as mascot for the Everton v Manchester City game by striker Romelu Lukaku.
Copyright © 2016 Football Foundation, All rights reserved.
 
TopCorner E-Newsletter - January 2017
 
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