by Lionel Birnie and Alan Cozzi
Four Seasons was published in 2001 and tells the story of Graham Taylor’s second reign as Watford manager in a 128-page hardback, coffee table-style book.
After a season spent as general manager, Taylor was itching to take charge of the team once again but no one could have imagined that history would repeat itself quite so dramatically.
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Taylor had steered the Hornets from the Fourth Division to the top flight in five years. This time, he propelled the team from the third tier into the Premiership with two successive promotions.
This was a glorious journey as Taylor created another exciting, attacking team who clinched the Second Division championship with a dramatic victory over Fulham on the final day of the season in May 1998.
The following season had an even more memorable conclusion after the team went on an extraordinary run to clinch a place in the play-offs. A 2-0 win against Bolton Wanderers in the final at Wembley Stadium saw Watford return to the top flight for the first time since 1988.
But the Premiership was a harsher place than the old First Division had been. The gap between the haves and have-nots was now a chasm but the season was not without its high spots. Victories against Liverpool at Anfield and against Gianluca Vialli’s Chelsea offered a glimpse of what might have been had Watford managed to keep all their key players fit.
Following relegation, they looked like making an immediate return to the big time with a stunning unbeaten run to the start of the league season. But the season unravelled and Taylor was unable to keep the promotion push on track. In the spring, he announced his intention to retire at the end of the season and the club unveiled Gianluca Vialli as his successor…
This book is a stunning souvenir of four unforgettable seasons packed with triumph and disaster, joy and despair. Alan Cozzi’s stunning photography is accompanied by Lionel Birnie’s deft commentary to document one of the most significant eras in the club’s history.
You can buy the book here. Other stockists include HMV in Watford’s Intu Centre and Amazon.
Four Seasons by Alan Cozzi and Lionel Birnie Published in 2001 | Hardback | 128 pages | RRP £19.95Buy on Amazon