former England manager Graham Taylor has paid a fond tribute to his
father Tom, who died aged 88 at Scunthorpe General Hospital.
said Tom Taylor had been an integral part of the development of the
community in Scunthorpe ever since he arrived in the town in 1946.
Graham travelled up to the town from his home in Sutton Coldfield to be with his mother and his sisters, Margaret and Christine.
in Westerham, Kent, Tom joined the Scunthorpe Evening Telegraph (as it
was then called) in 1946 and was its chief football writer until his
retirement in 1983.
He was known as ‘the Poacher’ in his early
days, covering the fortunes of Scunthorpe United when they were first
admitted to the football league in 1950, and their glory days in the
Second Division from 1958 to 1964.
Born in 1917, Tom attended Hosey Boys School, where he was taught by the eldest of his five brothers.
father was a master baker and Tom would often clamber aboard the
delivery cycle to take bread to Winston Churchill’s home, Chartwell.
Later, he met his future wife Dorothy when she was almost 17 years old and working as a parlour maid in the Westerham area.
was in the spring of 1936 and that’s when we decided to go out
together,” said Dorothy. At the time, Tom was a general reporter on the
Westerham Herald. He used to play football with his brothers and he
would report on the games as well.”
The couple were married in 1940 in Dorothy’s home town of Worksop and their first child, Christine, was born a year later.
joined the Army as a sapper in the REME and just before Christmas 1944,
the year Graham was born, he was sent out on active service to Burma.
While he was away, Dorothy and her young children stayed with her mother in Worksop.
returned home safely in 1946 and in July of that year he travelled to
Scunthorpe to join the editorial staff of the town’s evening newspaper.
1948, the couple had their third child, Margaret. Talking about their
earlier days together in Kent, Dorothy recalled the more romantic side
of her husband. “He loved the theatre, Shakespeare and poetry. He asked
me what I would like for my birthday and this would have been one of
the first presents he bought me. I told him I needed an umbrella, but
because I only earned five shillings a week I couldn’t afford one.”
on her birthday Tom presented her with a sewing basket and a book of
poems. “She didn’t get the umbrella, but received a lot of love
instead,” said Margaret.
Paying tribute to his father, Graham
recalled: “As a family, we lived with someone who was well known
throughout the town – and it is amazing the part he played in the
People would read him, some would agree with him and
others would not.” In the press box at United games, Tom would report
on a game as it was actually happening, phoning copy to his office
every 15 minutes while still watching the game.
“That,” said Graham, “was an art, which in the main has now disappeared.”
keep the team amused on coach journeys to away games, a then-teenage
Kevin Keegan used to perch on Tom’s lap and pretend to be a
Graham added: “He was the leading sports
writer in the area, and here was a man who was writing about all kinds
of sports. When you look back, you realise what part this man played in
the development of the community. From a family point of view, I am
very confident he played a leading role over so many years in the
community of Scunthorpe and, I think, for its benefit.”
proud of all of their children – as well as their seven grandchildren
and seven great-grandchildren – Tom and Dorothy were especially proud
when Graham was appointed manager of the England soccer team in 1990.
the morning of the appointment, Tom was reported as saying: “Graham has
worked tremendously hard for everything he has achieved in football,
and I am sure he will continue to do so now with England.”
Telegraph reporter Nick Cole said: “Tom was an institution and a man
who was much-loved and highly respected by everyone.”
Hazel Tomlins, Scunthorpe Telegraph