Ordinary players achieved the extraordinary, gave of their all every time they crossed that white line. That is what being "Taylor Made" meant.
How better to explain the very DNA behind this historic period of Watford Football Club history than to understand the thinking of one man, more than a Club's greatest manager, a man who was firm in his belief that
"Football is a simple game. It's a game for the man on the terraces; it's a game to excite people."
Who could have foretold the meteoric rise to fame of the Hornets. But when the worlds of a brilliant young man manager and a football crazy pop star collided the rest as they say is history.
A Club which with that combination at the helm rose from lowly Division Four via a cup final appearance to the European stage and on to the Premier League.
Part of that 4 Division rise to fame were four men who changed the world, of football in Watford - The Rocket Men.
These players weren't just members of a team, they were members of the whole local community. From the moment they put on the shirt they were taught to give back to those who enabled their careers. To the people who bought the tickets and stood supporting them wind rain or shine. Giving back was an accepted part of life for a Hornet. sportsmanship doesn't stop at the edge of the field.
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Former Players Club cic has been created by the original Rocket Men and Golden Boys who rose to glory under Graham Taylor OBE at Watford FC and have united to continue his teachings and community spirit.
This is a legacy which Graham Taylor himself wanted of his players and asked Neil Price to form an association which would maintain their strong team spirit and understanding of community. All based on family values.
Initially the project was focussed on building an ex player network. Together they were able to fundraise for former team mates in need and provide practical support to those they had played alongside under Graham, or coached. It enabled a much needed peer support platform, especially important to those who had played for the Town when annual player wages were on average around £20,000 per year.
But during Covid 19 under Luther Blissett’s leadership in supporting local charities and providing thousands of fans with emotional support through calls and visits, it became clear that the player history and Graham Taylor’s values were needed for greater purpose in the community.
It became clear that the wider Watford family found reassurance and support from the names that had played such a formative role in their past and creating Club and Town culture. A journey that had started in 1977 establishing one family. Watford , on and off the pitch.
So, the Former Players Club became official. Luther Blissett OBE, Neil Price, Ian Bolton, Keith Mercer, John Ward and Les Taylor taking up positions on the Bench (uncovered of course!) with the Boot Room gradually filling with ex hornets - now totalling nearly 70 players all inspired by the concept.
Playmakers - ex pros, celebrities who understand Taylor Made values and are able to use their name and achievements in sport, music, the arts for example to help support projects.
Forces United - Bringing together veterans and those currently serving as well as front line services. Our Armed Forces are very much something which Graham Taylor supported strongly.
Academicals - a way to inspire and educate young people, through positive role models and mentoring as well as instil discipline and Taylor Made values that develop community responsibility. Enabling young change makers to be empowered.
From Luther's Army of volunteers throughout covid making calls and taking aid to those in need. To the season ticket holders and community champions these are people who make a difference to others. Who believe that it is important to be "golden hearted" when it come to giving to others.
When we crossed that white line onto the pitch we were under no illusion about the honour and responsibility we carried with us. The hopes and aspirations of the community. We knew that we must give of our all , in order to give back what had been invested in us. But it didn't end with the referees whistle, far from it. Every training session included being given a community task to undertake.
The Former Players Club created and runs one of the biggest Ukraine support Networks in the Country. SUNFLOWER SOCIAL CLUB .The first in person Club runs every Wednesday in Watford - but it reaches much further
The Former Players Club launched its wellness club, in collaboration with Councillor Rabi Martins with an evening hosted by Russ Kane. The evening took on a chat show format to deliver insight on a series of topics. These included the value of ‘mental wellness’ as a label, social pressures, empowerment, and the importance of professional support. Guests panelists included xxx
Whether you are currently serving or are a location Veteran we want to show our appreciation. Forces United is our division which creates one voice for you in our Town. One resource to support you and keep you up to date on all that is going on.
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