Former England manager Graham Taylor denies being told not to pick ‘too many’ black players

Graham Taylor was told by officials from the Football Assocaition not to pick ‘too many’ black players during his time as England manager, a new book on racism in football claims.



Graham Taylor (centre) during his time in charge of England

Taylor allegedly told anti-racism campaigner Richie Moran he was summoned by two members of the FA and told to impose an unofficial quota on the number of black players in the national team.

In a passage in Emy Onuora’s new book, Pitch Black, Moran recounts that during a function at Watford’s ground during the 1999/2000 season, Taylor revealed as much in a conversation: “Graham Taylor came up to me and said: ‘Look, I’m going to tell you something … I’m never going to admit it, I will be sued for libel.’ He said: ‘When I was manager of England I was called in by two members of the FA, who I won’t name…’ I volunteered two names. He said: ‘I’m not prepared to say, but I was told in no uncertain terms not to pick too many black players for the national side.’”

Reacting to the claims, Taylor told the Guardian that he could not recall the conversation: “That is not me trying to evade it – and it also doesn’t mean I didn’t say it – but if anyone looks at my record with club and country it would be obvious to everyone anyway that I didn’t follow what was apparently said,” he said. “If anyone looks at my record, I could never be accused of blocking the way for any black player.” Taylor told BBC Radio 5 live: “I have no memory of that conversation.”

He added: “I never had any problem in regards to team selection concerning black players from the FA.

“My record as regards the selection of black players at international and at club level is there for people to see. To have my name linked with that kind of thing is completely wrong.”

There is no suggestion that Taylor took heed of the request during his time as England boss.

Moran, who played for Birmingham City in the 1990s, quit the game because of the racial abuse he suffered.