Robert Taylor (footballer)
|Full name||Robert Anthony Taylor|
|Date of birth||30 April 1971|
|Place of birth||Norwich, England|
|1991||→ Leyton Orient (loan)||3||(1)|
|2001||→ Queens Park Rangers (loan)||3||(0)|
|2001–2002||→ Gillingham (loan)||11||(0)|
|2002||→ Grimsby Town (loan)||4||(1)|
|2004||King's Lynn (Caretaker)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 10 February 2007.
† Appearances (Goals).
As a player Taylor played as a forward from 1990 until 2004, playing as a professional for Norwich City, Leyton Orient, Birmingham City, Brentford, Gillingham, Manchester City, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Queens Park Rangers, Grimsby Town and Scunthorpe United. He also went on to play for Gorleston and Holt in the Non-League game as well as moving into management with Watton United, King's Lynn, Dereham Town and Diss Town.
Taylor was signed by his home town club Norwich City after being spotted playing for non-league Watton United but although he was a high-scoring regular for the reserves, he never managed to break into the Canaries' first team. A three-month loan move to Birmingham City failed to materialise, but he finally made the grade with Leyton Orient. He had first played at Brisbane Road on loan from Norwich and the London club signed him permanently after he left Birmingham. A successful spell at Orient led to a move to Brentford.
While at Brentford Taylor formed prolific strike partnerships with Nicky Forster, Marcus Bent and Carl Asaba and became a keenly-sought transfer target. After being linked with a host of clubs he finally signed with Gillingham in 1998. The Kent club paid a club record fee to secure his services but he initially failed to perform, with the fans complaining that he was overweight, not match fit, and overpriced. When he did hit form, however, he became one of the Gillingham fans' greatest ever heroes, his exploits including scoring five goals in a match away at Burnley, the first time a player had ever hit five away from home for the Gills and the first time any player had achieved the feat in Division Two. He also scored a goal in the 1999 play-off final at Wembley Stadium against Manchester City. Six months later, after an impressive run of 18 goals in just 19 games, it was City who swooped to sign Taylor for £1.5 million.
After City's promotion to the Premiership in 2000 Taylor was allowed to move on to Wolverhampton Wanderers, despite a promising pre-season, due to his family being unable to settle in the area. Again the fee was in excess of £1.5 million. His time at Molineux was blighted by circulatory problems in his calves. He soon fell out of favour, making his final appearance in Colin Lee's final game in charge of the club, and was loaned out no less than three times, including a surprise return to Gillingham where he appeared to be a shadow of his former self and failed to score a single goal in eleven appearances. Taylor eventually terminated his own contract in 2002 and he had short spells with Grimsby Town and Scunthorpe United over the next year trying to get back from his operations on both of his calves which took 6 months to diagnose. He then went to Cheltenham Town and Chester City on trial before retiring from the professional game due to injuries in 2003.
Taylor returned to East Anglia to manage the club where he had started his career, Watton United. He led them to the championship of the Anglian Combination but then moved to become reserve team manager at King's Lynn, then became caretaker manager in 2004. He left the club as he thought the club wasn't going anywhere and that proved to be the case as the club disbanded, however. After leaving Lynn, he played one game for Gorleston and briefly appeared for Holt before being appointed as the new manager of Dereham Town in December 2004. In 2008 he moved to Diss Town where he remained until he departed from the club in October 2012.