The backlash from his failure as England manager continued long after Graham Taylor left Wolves. When Watford won the Play-off final to make it to the Premier League, he was being ridiculed by a pressman on television as he and the Hornets walked round saluting their fans at Wembley.

It demonstrated that the opposition to Graham, who was a decent and caring human being, was often clouded by personal spite. We have dealt with Jeff Powell and his resentment after finding himself with egg all over his face when Graham was appointed Watford boss and not as Powell had revealed in an exclusive, Bobby Moore.

When Graham died, the majority of the obituaries took into consideration Graham’s achievements and without harping too much on his failure as England boss.

Not so Powell and the former Sunday Times writer Brian Glanville. Both were extremely competent writers but their petty obsession with Graham and what they perceived he stood for, clouded their ability to write objectively about the man.

Indeed, when Graham retired and left Watford, in the build up to his final game, we asked fans to email their best wishes and observations. General news featured a couple of broadsheet pages of thanks and praise and there was one email, which stated good riddance to Taylor and his contributions to the game were rubbished. No one saw fit to inform me of the email and by the time it was published the source was lost but the emailer had signed off as Jeff Powell.

The example of him being ridiculed for taking his Watford charges back to school by giving them “homework” was just another example of journalists seeking to make a cheap shot, regardless of the facts.

Graham was innovative and when inheriting a Watford squad with little time left in order to mount some form of resistance against impending relegation, he asked his players to list their preferred first team line-up including personnel and formation. This gave him immediate insight into his squad and was in fact an inspired approach. He knew how the players as a whole and individually were thinking – something which would normally take a few weeks to find out. But he was ridiculed by some sections of Fleet Street.

Graham was exasperated by this but he was beginning to become acclimatised to running into patches of hate when entering the world of football. I remember after the press conference at Brentford, Graham inquired from Terry Challis and me as to which way we were heading from the ground. He then admitted he liked the idea of being escorted down the road by “two big chaps”. He had experienced an unpleasant incident, upon passing a pub some months before, when fans attempted to throw beer over Graham.

So pond life can be found everywhere.

Graham’s ability to lift Watford out of the mire was handicapped by the lack of real fitness in the squad and the fact, three games into his tenure, he lost Kevin Phillips. Graham knew Kevin by reputation but did not have any first-hand knowledge of the player. Phillips was out for the remainder of the season and most of the next, which was a blow because Graham loved working with and improving forward players. Watford and Phillips would have benefitted from that relationship and it was ironic that Kevin, recommended to Peter Reid by Graham, moved to Sunderland where he starred in a little and large partnership with Niall Quinn.

Kevin had been out of action with a ligament injury for a year and returned to then manager Kenny Jackett’s squad with his contract fast running out. His return of three goals in 18 appearances did not prompt Watford into superhuman efforts to keep the player and anyway, Kevin’s mind was made up: he was looking for fresh pastures.

Another prolific scorer was to slip through Graham’s fingers: David Connolly, a player with a seemingly inflated opinion of his own abilities, who finally made his mark in league and international football, but appeared to have already made up his mind that he was leaving Watford and Jackett, who had known him as a youth trainee.

He scored more than 120 league goals but I often wondered had he stayed and been prepared to learn from Graham, he might have made a bigger impact on the game. But as the famous Roy Keane was to remark, echoing the observations of the Watford managers, he was “a strange lad”.

Indeed he incurred the ire of some diehards and there was an incident when Connolly reacted to fans in a reserve team game and on another occasion, famously missed the coach to Chesterfield. However, I remember him as a player of some potential on the pitch and recall, despite his hat-tricks, he really impressed in the game at Norwich.

At Watford, he scored seven goals in 18 appearances in the third tier after scoring eight in 12 when Graham gave him the chance at the end of the season as they battled relegation from the second tier. As with Phillips, injury also clouded his second season under Graham and he was unavailable for much of it. We watched him shine against Watford and he proved to be a reliable goalscorer for other teams having learnt a few football realities after leaving Vicarage Road. Potentially, one could imagine him under Taylor, achieving even greater things.

This was a great pity because while there was an obvious need for a big man in attack, both Connolly and Phillips would have been assets as Watford gained successive promotions.

Graham loved intuitive goalscorers and he did not really have the degree of finishing prowess, which he had enjoyed back in the days of Luther Blissett and company, in his first spell at Watford. Indeed, his goalscoring returns in the second spell were disappointing, although that might have been much better had not been discovered Gifton Noel-Williams was suffering from a career-threatening arthritic condition.