Music icon Elton John has attributed the late former England manager Graham Taylor with "saving his life." The 76-year-old singer acknowledged that a candid and direct confrontation from Taylor, who was then the manager of Watford, acted as a wake-up call about his excessive drinking and drug use, emphasizing that it was detrimental not only to himself but also to the club.
In an excerpt from the new book titled 'Watford Forever: How Graham Taylor and Elton John Saved a Football Club, a Town and Each Other,' published by The Sunday Times, Elton revealed, “I’ve no doubt that Graham saved my life. Without him, I would have been lost."
According to reports from Female First UK, the revelation unfolds on December 26, 1981, when Elton, who owned the club, poured himself a whisky upon arriving at the Vicarage Road stadium with Graham Taylor. The next day, Taylor, the manager, took the initiative to arrive early for a board meeting to have a private and frank discussion with Elton about his behaviors.
According to the book, Elton sat down and Graham -- who died of a heart attack in 2017 -- grabbed a bottle of brandy and slammed it on the table in front of him as he said: “That’s what you have for breakfast, isn’t it?.”
“What the f*** do you think you’re doing? You’re letting yourself down and you’re letting the club down. If you ever turn up looking like this again, that’s f****** it, as far as I’m concerned,” he added.
The 'Candle in the Wind' singer was "stunned and mortified" by Graham's remarks but knew he had to listen.
Elton told the book's author John Preston: “It shook me to the core. It was one of those moments when all the delusions that I’d surrounded myself with, all the lies I’d told myself, fell away. I was just left there, stunned and mortified. I certainly wouldn’t have taken it from anyone else; I would just have told them to f*** off. But because Graham came from outside my world, somehow that meant I couldn’t ignore it”.
He further mentioned, “I may have been the king of my castle, but that was completely unimportant to him. Graham just cared about me as a person. About the fact that if I carried on the way I was going, then I was going to kill myself. That was what really shone through; behind his anger, I could see that he really loved me.”
Elton -- who took control of Watford in 1976 before selling it on in 1987 -- credits the intervention for kick-starting his recovery.
“Something took root inside me that day which had quietly been growing all this time. It launched me on the road to recovery. Although there were plenty of false dawns along the way, lots of setbacks and broken promises, it gave me the kick-start I needed. In effect, Graham saved my life, I’ve never had the slightest doubt about that,” he said.
The 'Philadelphia Freedom' singer was determined to show he was worthy of Graham's respect.
He said: “I would have done anything for that, literally anything.”
(With Agency Inputs)