WHEN Peter Tayor spent the end of last season watching his Stevenage side’s Conference title challenge dropping off, was he wondering where it had all gone wrong? After all, this is the man that managed England – albeit for one game – and was the first to give David Beckham the captain’s armband.
Today in 2001 Taylor’s managerial career took it’s first real dive when he was sacked by Leicester City following a poor start to the season.
As a player Taylor won four England caps, despite playing for Third Division Crystal Palace and made the move into management as player-manager at non-league Dartford. He then spent a couple of seasons at Southend United, before returning to the non-leagues with Dover Athletic. After keeping the Whites up in 1996 he was Glenn Hoddle’s surprising pick as England under-21 manager.
After picking up 11 wins during his 15 games in charge, Taylor’s reputation quickly grew, before he was controversially ousted in favour of Howard Wilkinson. His next club job was at Gillingham, where he guided the Gills to victory in the Division Two play-off final, leading them to uncharted territory.
The Premier League came-a-calling next, as Taylor took charge of Leicester City following Martin O’Neill’s departure. A successful start saw Leicester at the top of the pile for two weeks in October 2000, before they tumbled down the table to finish 13th, losing nine of their last ten games and also falling prey to Wycombe’s giantkilling act in the FA Cup quarter-finals.
This all came despite Taylor being given a decent go with the chequebook, spending £23m on transfers, including the disastrous £5.5m punt on Ade Akinbiyi, who was described at the time by The Sun as “The League’s Worst Striker.”
It was during this time that England, following the departure of Kevin Keegan (whatever happened to him?), gave Taylor the reigns for their friendly away to Italy. Picking a young squad, Taylor gave Beckham the armband for the first time, as the Three Lions lost 1-0.
Meanwhile, back in the midlands frustrations started to come to a head and after a slow start to the 2001/02 season and Taylor was given the boot, with Garry Parker and Dave Bassett manning the ship for the rest of the season as the Foxes were relegated.
Administration followed, but despite this Micky Adams took the side up as Leicester got their loophole on, clearing their debts and also finding themselves in a nice shiny (but soulless) new stadium. It was this that made the Football League pull their finger out and introduce the points deduction penalty for going into administration.
Taylor meanwhile has since put in stints at Brighton, Hull, Palace and spent last season back in non-league football with Stevenage. His most notable achievement during this period has been his obsession with midfielder Junior Lewis, who he has signed for six of his clubs (Dover, Gillingham, Leicester, Brighton, Hull and Stevenage, as you asked). He the Boro quit at the end of the season to concentrate on getting a job in the league, taking the hot seat at Wycombe Wanderers. His first move? Signing Junior Lewis as first team coach.
We’ll leave you with an excellent tribute to Taylor’s most expensive signing and biggest failure below. See what else was going on today here and if you can’t wait until tomorrow’s daily does of footy history, then check out the OTFD book, available here.