Those who attended Vicarage Road and/or Graham Taylor’s funeral will be aware the former manager was a Buddy Holly fan.

During his second spell at Watford, I happened to attend a record fair in Bushey. To my surprise I came across a Buddy Holly CD I had not been aware of.

It was called The Apartment Tapes and contained all the recordings he had made in late 1958 in New York. He just sat, played guitar and sang into his Ampex tape recorder. You can hear his wife washing dishes in the kitchen in the background on a couple of takes.

They were not meant for release but many of the songs were given a backing and released commercially, such as Peggy Sue Got Married.

I took the CD home and listened to it repeatedly. Then, knowing only one other Buddy Holly anorak, I took it down to Vicarage Road and showed it to Graham. He was delighted and asked to borrow it. A few weeks later, I asked him about the CD and he said he loved it.

“Thanks very much for that. You will be able to get your own copy, won’t you,” he said.

It was not until later I discovered he had been unsuccessful in locating a copy and so had opted to hijack mine.

Graham also had a soft spot through his wartime fascination, for Vera Lynn.

Elton John was amused by this and subsequently presented Graham with a signed copy of a Vera album. Graham was really pleased but did not find the incident at all funny, when he later discovered the signature had been forged.

The new manager quickly established a good working relationship with his chairman, and Graham’s innate ability to call a spade a spade brought them closer. He had no difficulty in gently but honestly nudging the chairman in the right direction, if he thought the pop star was out of order.

“There are certain things about your life I do not know about and do not want to know,” Graham told Elton, probably around the same time he instructed his chairman never to come down on the bench during matches.

Elton had wandered down during an evening game and had tried to conduct the fans to get further behind the team. “This chairman is very different,” Graham observed after the game, shaking his head.

Elton never repeated his visit to the bench during games.  Elton was a boon and also, to a degree, a liability, in Taylor’s eyes, and he quickly sought to establish some ground rules, including never being seen or photographed near the players when they took a communal bath. Yet they were very close: sometimes playing board games together in a very competitive manner.

There is also the famous occasion when it was understood Elton was drinking a lot.

Invited to dinner, Elton was surprised when he sat down at the table and was not provided with a plate of food. Graham promptly put a bottle of spirit on the table, pointing out that this was Elton’s current substitute for food.

It is to the rock star’s credit that he took these admonishments in his stride, as if Graham was his older brother. They had a good understanding and friendship, which lasted through to early 1987. After that it revived again, but was never quite the same as in those early days. Nevertheless, there was a real bond and understanding between them as they rose from the ashes of Division Four and reached Europe.

During the opening Fourth Division season Taylor signed Dennis Booth, who would become captain and key midfielder.

Booth was a continuity player who lacked the flair of such as Dennis Bond, but was more consistent and so more effective, but for many his value was relatively unnoticed. He did not catch the eye with flair and was only really noticed when he attempted a shot. Sam Ellis, captain in Division Four, pointed out that “Boothy shooting is a waste of time because he never scores”.

As with most dressing-room folklore, much of it is tinged with exaggeration for Booth averaged a goal every 30 league appearances over his career and finished up with two nettings in a total of 117 appearances for the Hornets. However, the enthusiasm he showed when he did score, tended to lend credence to the legend that even he thought it a rare event.

Graham also signed Keith Cassells, a striker who could score goals for fun in training and practice matches, but froze on the pitch.

There was no doubting Cassells’ ability but he was another example of a player who felt the pressure when playing football for a livelihood. A lot of more talented players grace the local and Herts County leagues but, as Graham stressed, they can play for fun but when they have to play to pay the mortgage, they do not have the professional streak.

Brian Pollard was another signing that year: a player who found it difficult to implement Taylor’s strictures at times. Taylor drilled his squad by repetition. As Booth would observe: “One day we took 60 corners in training, so we knew exactly where we were and what we had to do.”

Despite those drills, Pollard would tend to forget aspects when actually playing. He cost £30,000 and was to be sold for double the fee to Mansfield Town, who gave him a free transfer a year later in 1981. He made some 85 appearances for Watford, and gave the Hornets the width on the right - a vital ingredient.