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

John Preston, Sir Elton John CBE

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From the publisher:

The Sunday Times Sports Book of the Year

A Times Book of the Year

A Financial Times Book of the Yea

rA 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.

The author:

John Preston is an award-winning journalist, novelist, original screen writer and writer of non-fiction with a proven track record for writing bestselling books which translate seamlessly to the screen. His most recent book, Fall: The Mystery of Robert Maxwell, was a Sunday Times bestseller, was shortlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize and won the Costa Biography Award in 2021. His previous book, A Very English Scandal, was adapted into a multiple award winning mini-series.

Sir Elton John, CBE, is a multi-award winning solo artist and bestselling author. He has sold more than 300 million records worldwide and holds the record for the biggest-selling single of all time. Elton's most publicized involvement with the sporting world is his enduring connection with Watford FC. It was the club he supported as a boy and of which he later became Chairman, guiding it to the highest echelon of the professional game in England.


Penguin Books
20 x 13 cm
304 pages
May 2024