One of Watford FC’s greatest players says the decision to help the town’s coronavirus appeal was “one of the easiest” he has made as he strives to continue to uphold Graham Taylor’s community legacy.

Luther Blissett has been a prominent face of the Watford Helps campaign and has helped provide regular virtual Sunday evening entertainment by co-hosting the Facebook-based Big Bold Community Quiz alongside the town’s elected Mayor Peter Taylor in aid of the town’s Covid-19 appeal.

This has so far raised £150,000 for local charities, £3,885 of which came from the proceeds of an online auction mainly consisting of Hornets memorabilia. Some of these items were donated by members of the club’s 1984 FA Cup final team and Mr Taylor’s daughter Karen Colley when they were guests for the quiz on what should have been cup final weekend last month.

Watford’s record goalscorer described the auction total as “extremely pleasing” and pointed to Les Taylor’s decision to donate his cup final tie as another example of how those who played under the late Hornets manager still want to maintain the legacy that he created in the 1980s of building the first family club.

The tie belonging to Watford’s cup final captain raised £750 and Mr Blissett said: “That is the last bit of memorabilia that he’s got and the cup tie final tie is one of probably only 30 or 40 that the football club had made and he’s donated it to the community.

Watford Observer:

Les Taylor captained Watford at Wembley in 1984

“Again, it just tells us of the way Graham Taylor’s influence remains until this day, the players that worked with him and under him over that period of time that created the Watford family and community.

“People may say a lot of things but Graham Taylor created that. It was always family first, football second with Graham.”

The 62-year-old, who missed out on potentially playing in the cup final after moving to AC Milan in 1983 but returned to Vicarage Road the following season, described it as “one of the easiest decisions to ever make” after the mayor asked him to get involved in the Covid-19 appeal.

He said: “I’d been doing a lot of things within the community anyway and prior to the mayor asking me I’d been getting a lot of messages on social media from fans who were finding it difficult to socially isolate, be away from friends and family and the game they love. In some cases it went on and it was almost like bereavement counselling.

“I don’t how I was able to do what I did but I just felt for people, the way people spoke to me especially after a member of my family had passed on a few years ago and my mum just before Christmas, and I just tried to treat people in the manner Graham had always sort of led the way by.

“When the mayor came and said ‘I’d like you to help me a bit’, it was ‘I can tell you exactly what I’ve been doing’ but to be able to do it for all of the town and the surrounding areas of Watford has been quite amazing.”

Watford Observer:

This portrait of Luther Blissett, signed by the former England striker and artist Watford MP Dean Russell, sold for £900 in the auction

The former England striker claims to have made “probably 20 calls a day speaking to supporters” during the coronavirus crisis, including Hornets fans across the world and followers of other clubs as well. He admits these conversations have also helped him at times.

Mr Blissett, who has also been using his social media presence to help promote racial equality and greater understanding and tolerance, said: “It helps them immensely for me to talk to them, but you don’t realise it yourself sometimes and you do get those low days when you’re down a bit. But on those days I was calling people and having a conversation with them and you hear their stories, hear about their families and you realise you aren’t alone and that’s the message that I try to get across to everybody.

“We’re not alone and we must remember through all of this, this pandemic will end. We will get back to a form of that life that we once knew, or probably took for granted because that’s the way it was. We will get back to somewhere near that and that’s the important thing.”