Watford Forever

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

John Preston author Elton John author


Publisher:Penguin Books Ltd

Published:16th Nov '23


Available for immediate dispatch.

This hardback is available in another edition too:

Watford Forever cover

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.

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 *
A wonderful, feel-good account of an ultimately English provincial story -- Simon Kuper * The Spectator *
A rollicking period tale of footballing success . . . Watford Forever teems with unforgettable images . . . from first to last, this is an ever-entertaining telling of a remarkable sporting fairy-tale -- Declan Ryan * Daily Telegraph *
Entwining sport, music and social history, the absorbing Watford Forever is masterfully judged, saccharine-free, true-life fairy tale, which showcases another side of Elton John -- John Aizlewood * iNews *
A warm and redemptive tale . . . packed with anecdotes, moments that skewer the times with economy and prevision. Plus endless laugh-out-loud yarns…as Preston tells [Elton John and Graham Taylor’s] story, it rattles along at page-turning pace….it reads, indeed, like the script of a movie -- Jim White * Independent *
It is hard to read Watford Forever without becoming overwhelmingly nostalgic . . . Preston burrows to the heart of what for a while Watford got so right -- Simon Burnton * Observer *
John bought his beloved Watford FC when it was near the bottom of English football, then carried it to glory in alliance with manager Graham Taylor — his polar opposite. The rock star collaborated with Preston, a skilled and versatile writer, for this English-odd-couple feelgood story * Financial Times *
The original football fairytale of a small club rising from the bottom to the top * Watford Observer *
You don't have to be a Watford fan to enjoy this terrific book. It is about much more than the unlikely friendship between one of the most famous stars on the planet, who as a boy had loved being taken to Watford matches by his distant father, and the fiercely ambitious son of a sports editor who wanted, in his managerial achievements, to make up for an undistinguished playing career * Daily Mail *

ISBN: 9780241597903

Dimensions: 238mm x 158mm x 34mm

Weight: 540g

304 pages