Today, it was revealed by an inquiry into a historic sexual abuse case at Aston Villa that Villa and Watford legend Taylor was allegedly warned, more than once, about ongoing sexual abuse at the club. The below is from The Guardian, which I encourage you to read.
‘Graham Taylor, the former England manager, was involved in a cover-up at Aston Villa which led to other boys being exposed to a paedophile who was working for the club as a scout and later convicted of a string of offences over a 13-year period. Taylor is alleged to have discouraged Tony Brien, one of Ted Langford’s victims, from reporting what had happened and told him, according to evidence presented to the inquiry, that he should “move on” after the teenager informed Villa in the 1987-88 season that he knew from personal experience, aged 12 to 14, that boys were at risk, having been abused at a feeder club for Leicester City.’
Ted Langford, a scout at Aston Villa, allegedly abused four boys during his time at Leicester City and Villa -- with three of them being at Villa.
Langford’s actions are obviously horrific, illegal and sickening - but we knew that. What we did not know is the role Taylor played in the abuse children at Aston Villa whether he knew it or not.
To allegedly know about the abuse of children happening in your workplace and not acting on it? If true, it makes Taylor complicit in the act. To be in a position of power, and to use that power to cover up a heinous crime such as this, makes one just as guilty as the abuser. For that reason, Aston Villa must walk away from the memory of Graham Taylor if this is all true. A man who did so much for the club, yet couldn’t show up when he was most needed - to protect those who were the future of the club, and those who were most vulnerable. This is a crime that, quite obviously, destroyed lives.
It might be that there is nothing of substance that Aston Villa can do to make up for this at this point, except to walk away from Taylor and try to make sure this never happens again, at this club or any other. It’s done. The crime happened.when something could have been reported, victims were discouraged, allegedly by Taylor, from reporting the matter. Yes, Langford was dismissed as a result, but it was a small price to pay for his alleged crimes. Even then, there was no legal requirement to report Langford - which is another upsetting matter to deal with. As for Villa’s actions now? They must do everything in their power to bring this matter to light, open lines of communication with victims and fight for this behaviour to be eradicated.
Sexual abuse happens, and too often it is allowed to happen by the people who are too cowardly to step in and help out when victims come forward with information. It is today that we find Graham Taylor allegedly on the wrong side of history and potentially on the wrong side of the law.
Some of you might be thinking that Villa walking away from Graham Taylor would be something unimaginable to think about, and downright insane - but is it better than celebrating the memory of a man who allegedly helped create a toxic, abusive, and sinister environment at our beloved football club. What he felt doesn’t matter, either, because the reality is this: If sexual abuse happened at Aston Villa, and Graham Taylor was complicit in it, there is no place for him here. It’s a difficult conversation to have - however, the more difficult subject is ignoring the abuse and degradation of minors by those who should have been caring for them.