Watford Forever: How Graham Taylor and Elton John Saved a Football Club, a Town and Each Other (Paperback)
  • Watford Forever: How Graham Taylor and Elton John Saved a Football Club, a Town and Each Other (Paperback)
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Watford Forever: How Graham Taylor and Elton John Saved a Football Club, a Town and Each Other (Paperback)

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Paperback 304 Pages
Published: 16/05/2024
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Waterstones Says

From the author of Fall and A Very English Scandal comes a glorious footballing underdog story as a flamboyant rock star and savvy manager combine to haul Watford FC from the basement of the Football League to the giddy heights of the First Division.

An unforgettable British underdog story from one of our greatest narrative nonfiction writers, John Preston, and the international musical icon and bestselling author, Sir Elton John.

Britain in the 1970s was beset by unrest and unemployment, as inflation soared, fuel was scarce, and hooliganism was on the rise. And for Watford FC, the outlook was even gloomier. Rundown and rat-infested, Watford were an ailing side with holes in their kit and barely enough fans to fill a stand. Of the 92 clubs in the Football League, spread across four divisions, Watford were in 92nd place.

Meanwhile, Elton John was the most successful rockstar in the world. With six-inch platforms, spangled jumpsuits, and peroxide hair, he was glamorous, gay, and seemingly a world away from the semi-detached house in Pinner where he had supported Watford FC as a child. Many assumed he would move to America. Instead, he bought the football club.

Watford Forever is the remarkable story of Elton John's ownership of Watford FC and its transformational journey to the top of the First Division under iconic manager Graham Taylor. Perhaps most remarkably, four of the same players who had been written off as has-beens went with them all the way from the bottom to the top. Inspiring and infectiously funny, this is a tribute to football's unlikeliest friendship as Elton John and Taylor, a straight-talking former fullback with a love of Vera Lynn, beat the odds and their personal demons to save a club and a community.

Immersed in the grime and glamour of '70s Britain, Watford Forever is one of sport's great underdog stories and a love letter to the beautiful game.

Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
ISBN: 9780241996911
Number of pages: 304
Weight: 237 g
Dimensions: 197 x 129 x 19 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

If John Preston hasn’t already sold the film rights to this book, he surely will soon. Watford Forever is the heartwarming story of the collaboration and friendship between English football’s oddest couple, Elton John and Graham Taylor - Robert Crampton, The Times

A wonderful, feel-good account of an ultimately English provincial story - Simon Kuper, The Spectator

A rollicking period tale of footballing success . . . Watford Forever teems with unforgettable images . . . from first to last, this is an ever-entertaining telling of a remarkable sporting fairy-tale - Declan Ryan, Daily Telegraph

Entwining sport, music and social history, the absorbing Watford Forever is masterfully judged, saccharine-free, true-life fairy tale, which showcases another side of Elton John - John Aizlewood, iNews

A warm and redemptive tale . . . packed with anecdotes, moments that skewer the times with economy and prevision. Plus endless laugh-out-loud yarns…as Preston tells [Elton John and Graham Taylor’s] story, it rattles along at page-turning pace….it reads, indeed, like the script of a movie - Jim White, Independent

It is hard to read Watford Forever without becoming overwhelmingly nostalgic . . . Preston burrows to the heart of what for a while Watford got so right - Simon Burnton, Observer

John bought his beloved Watford FC when it was near the bottom of English football, then carried it to glory in alliance with manager Graham Taylor — his polar opposite. The rock star collaborated with Preston, a skilled and versatile writer, for this English-odd-couple feelgood story - Financial Times

The original football fairytale of a small club rising from the bottom to the top - Watford Observer

You don't have to be a Watford fan to enjoy this terrific book. It is about much more than the unlikely friendship between one of the most famous stars on the planet, who as a boy had loved being taken to Watford matches by his distant father, and the fiercely ambitious son of a sports editor who wanted, in his managerial achievements, to make up for an undistinguished playing career - Daily Mail

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