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Watford Forever by John Preston & Elton John
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Watford Forever

How Graham Taylor and Elton John Saved a Football Club, a Town and Each Other
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Narrator Alex Jennings

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Length 8 hours 13 minutes
Language English
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Brought to you by Penguin.

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 council 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.

©2023 Elton John & John Preston (P)2023 Penguin Audio

John Preston is a former Arts Editor of the Evening Standard and the Sunday Telegraph. For ten years he was the Sunday Telegraph's television critic and one of its chief feature writers. His novel, The Dig, based on the 1939 archaeological excavation at Sutton Hoo in Suffolk, has been filmed starring Ralph Fiennes, Carey Mulligan and Lily James. His first nonfiction book, A Very English Scandal, was published to great acclaim in 2016 and turned into BAFTA-winning BBC drama series. His latest book Fall: The Mystery of Robert Maxwell was published to great acclaim in February 2021. It has been shortlisted for both the Baillie Gifford Prize and the Costa Biography Prize and is being adapted for television by Working Title productions.

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.

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Reviews

A rollicking period tale of footballing success . . . Watford Forever teems with unforgettable images . . . from first to last, this is an ever-entertaining telling of a remarkable sporting fairy-tale You don't have to be a Watford fan to enjoy this terrific book. It is about much more than the unlikely friendship between one of the most famous stars on the planet, who as a boy had loved being taken to Watford matches by his distant father, and the fiercely ambitious son of a sports editor who wanted, in his managerial achievements, to make up for an undistinguished playing career If John Preston hasn’t already sold the film rights to this book, he surely will soon. Watford Forever is the heartwarming story of the collaboration and friendship between English football’s oddest couple, Elton John and Graham Taylor A wonderful, feel-good account of an ultimately English provincial story A warm and redemptive tale . . . packed with anecdotes, moments that skewer the times with economy and prevision. Plus endless laugh-out-loud yarns…as Preston tells [Elton John and Graham Taylor’s] story, it rattles along at page-turning pace….it reads, indeed, like the script of a movie It is hard to read Watford Forever without becoming overwhelmingly nostalgic . . . Preston burrows to the heart of what for a while Watford got so right John bought his beloved Watford FC when it was near the bottom of English football, then carried it to glory in alliance with manager Graham Taylor — his polar opposite. The rock star collaborated with Preston, a skilled and versatile writer, for this English-odd-couple feelgood story The original football fairytale of a small club rising from the bottom to the top Entwining sport, music and social history, the absorbing Watford Forever is masterfully judged, saccharine-free, true-life fairy tale, which showcases another side of Elton John Expand reviews
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