Watford Forever

Watford Forever

How Graham Taylor and Elton John Saved a Football Club, a Town and Each Other

Summary

The Sunday Times Sports Book of the Year
A Times Book of the Year
A Financial Times Book of the Year
A Guardian Book of the Year
A New Statesman Book of the Year

'The heartwarming story of the collaboration and friendship between English football’s oddest couple, Elton John and Graham Taylor'
The Times

' A wonderful, feel-good account of an ultimately English provincial story' Simon Kuper
_____

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.

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

About the authors

John Preston

John Preston is a former Arts Editor of the Evening Standard and the Sunday Telegraph. For ten years he was the Sunday Telegraph's television critic and one of its chief feature writers. His novel, The Dig, based on the 1939 archaeological excavation at Sutton Hoo in Suffolk, has been filmed starring Ralph Fiennes, Carey Mulligan and Lily James. His first nonfiction book, A Very English Scandal, was published to great acclaim in 2016 and turned into BAFTA-winning BBC drama series. His latest book Fall: The Mystery of Robert Maxwell was published to great acclaim in February 2021. It has been shortlisted for both the Baillie Gifford Prize and the Costa Biography Prize and is being adapted for television by Working Title productions.
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Elton John

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