Graham Taylor and me

One chilly early morning I was between trains at Crewe, where I had alighted from the midnight train from Glasgow. Only a few people hung around at such a small hour, and their breath clouds hung on the air. Happily, the buffet was open and I was warming my hands on one of those huge cups of black coffee, brain in neutral.

My reverie was interrupted when a man whose air was clerical; I thought that he may have forgotten to put on his dog collar. “I’ve bought one of these”, he said, holding up a miniature Whyte & MacKay whisky bottle, “but it’s a bit too much for me, would you like to share?”

“Ooh, yes please!”, I replied, upon which he unscrewed the top and poured about half into my cup and the rest into his.

I realised it was the Aston Villa manager, Graham Taylor, but, having only average knowledge about football, I refrained from asking about it. So we just passed the time in idle chit-chat, drifting from topic to topic, passing the time. He was a thoroughly pleasant and jovial companion. Eventually, our train pulled in. He turned and held out his hand, and as we shook, said “Graham, but you know that”.  He thanked me for passing the time, and again for not mentioning football! Then he headed for first class and me for the hoi polloi.

When I told a friend who was a Villa fan and had met Mr Taylor several times he told me this was typical of the man’s character. So, thinking of no one in particular (?), you really can be successful and pleasant.

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