Manager Steve Bruce held his pre Wolverhampton Wanderers press conference earlier today and as well as talking about the game he also had kind words about Graham Taylor following his passing.
I think GT is of slightly more importance than Wolves so I’ll split this and cover his words on our former gaffer on their own.
The Official Site have Bruce quoted as saying that Bodymoor Heath was a quiet place following news of his death as obviously plenty at the club knew him well.
‘First and foremost, like everyone else, I am in total shock. When you hear the tributes, you realise what a great guy he was. I have walked through the door this morning and there are two members of my staff – Tony Coton and Tommy Mooney – who played with him for years. Then there are staff here behind-the-scenes who have also worked with him. They are all devastated. The one thing that shines through is what a lovely human being he was – and a delight to work with.’
Bruce went on to say.
“His record speaks for itself – not just here at Villa – but at Wolves and Watford too. His exploits at Watford were quite remarkable. The tributes are very fitting. He was a very decent man and treated everyone with the respect they deserved. It didn`t matter if you were the laundry lady or the centre forward, he had a humility and treated everyone the same. That`s excellent to hear. It`s fitting that it`s Wolves v Villa this weekend. The minute`s applause will be fitting too – and only right. There will be plenty more tributes too, I`m sure. The football world is a state of shock that we have lost Graham so early. Nobody expected it.’
Back during his time at Birmingham, Bruce was in the opposite dug out for a couple of games against Taylor in his second time with us and even though that year saw two wins for Bruce, he went on to say that he more than saw GT’s character shine through in what was a tough time for us.
‘Neither night was easy for him, that`s for sure. But I remember shaking his hand and he said the better team won on the night. He told me how fantastic we had played. That`s very difficult to say when you`ve just been beaten in a derby because you just want to clear off and get out of there. That`s normal behaviour.’
‘But his behaviour summed him up. He was a fierce competitor and loved to win but there was a real humility about him, which everyone realises and respects. When you hear the universal football world saying what a great man you are, you sit up and take notice.’
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