Taylor still haunted by World Cup failure
08 October 2013, 17:59
London - Former England manager Graham Taylor has warned current national coach Roy Hodgson about the dangers of failing to qualify for the World Cup.
Hodgson's side tackle Montenegro at Wembley Stadium on Friday before playing Poland at the same venue next Tuesday, knowing only two victories will guarantee a berth at next year's tournament in Brazil.
Taylor, 69, was vilified for his role in England's failure to reach the 1994 tournament in the United States.
After a 2-0 loss to Holland in Rotterdam in October 1993 ended England's hopes of qualifying, British tabloid The Sun depicted Taylor as a turnip on its front page and he says it was a slur that he has never shaken off.
"I remember I met Kelvin McKenzie, who was the editor of The Sun at the time, and he told me I was being over-sensitive to complain about his paper calling me a turnip. He said it was a bit of fun," Taylor told the Daily Telegraph.
"Well, I was at a match in Brentford several years later, making my way to my car after the game when I saw out of the corner of my eye two yobbish-looking people coming out of the pub with a pint in each hand.
"They were shouting 'There's the effin' turnip!' and they chucked the pints over me. If it wasn't for the swift action of the Brentford security people, I reckon it would have been worse. Was that just a bit of fun, Kelvin?"
He added: "When you're committed and fail, the pain doesn't go away. Twenty years on and we're still talking about it.
"People say I'm silly, but the truth is I'll take this to the grave with me: I am the England manager who failed to qualify for the World Cup."
Nevertheless, Taylor has backed the current England squad to finish the job and qualify for Brazil.
"I seem to be the only person in the country not worried," he said.
"What is up with all of us? Top of the table (in European qualifying Group H), two to play at home, a goal difference that's excellent: why are people nervous? What's the problem? Goodness me, I wish I was in Roy's position."
England have not failed to qualify for the World Cup since Taylor's tenure, although they did miss out on a place at the 2008 European Championship.