LONDON: Jack Taylor, the Wolverhampton butcher who carved a slice of football history with his refereeing of the 1974 World Cup Final, has died at his home in Shropshire aged 82.
The first test of Taylor’s presence of mind came at kickoff between West Germany and Holland when he held up the entire process in Munich’s Olympic stadium because the corner flags were missing. Then, inside the second minute he awarded the first-ever penalty in the 42 years of the Final after Holland’s Johan Cruyff was tripped.
West Germany hit back with a penalty of their own and a further goal from Gerd Muller to lead 2-1 at halftime which so rattled the Dutch that Taylor booked Cruyff, their captain, for dissent.
In the second half Taylor disallowed a further West German ‘goal’ by Muller, for offside. No-one protested at the time but, as Taylor conceded years later with the benefit of slow-motion replays, the decision by his linesman was wrong – Muller had been onside when the ball was played.
Taylor, who had also refereed at the 1970 World Cup finals, was in charge of the 1966 FA Cup final and 1971 European Champions Cup final when Ajax – and Cruyff – beat Panathinaikos at Wembley.
Mike Riley, general manager of the Professional Game Match Officials, said: “This is a terribly sad moment for English officiating and we send our condolences to his family and many friends. Every referee of our generation looked up to Jack Taylor because he set the standard. His performances at the 1974 World Cup inspired a whole generation of referees in this country.
“I was fortunate to travel to the 2010 World Cup final in South Africa with Jack for him to watch Howard Webb. He was incredibly proud that another Englishman had taken charge of the biggest game in world football.
“But then that was Jack, he was not only very well respected throughout the game by players and managers, he was also an extremely nice man and wonderful fun to be around.
“He never stopped inspiring match officials. Over the last five years he has played an important role for PGMOL passing on his many years of experience to tomorrow’s referees. We will miss him greatly.”
Football League chairman Greg Clarke said: “Jack Taylor set the benchmark for refereeing, not just in this country but across the world and in later life he applied the same levels of integrity, commitment and sheer love of the game to his other roles in football.
“Very few people in football can match the contribution made by Jack Taylor and fewer still have managed to do it whilst retaining the respect and admiration of absolutely everyone they have come into contact with.
“He will be greatly missed by everybody at The Football League and its clubs and our thoughts are with his family and friends.”