Peter Taylor (footballer, born 1928)

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For the former England U21 and Gillingham manager, see Peter Taylor (footballer, born 1953). For other people named Peter Taylor, see Peter Taylor (disambiguation).
Peter Taylor
Brian Clough and Brian Taylor Statue Derby.jpg
Brian Clough and Peter Taylor Statue at Pride Park Stadium
Personal information
Full name Peter Thomas Taylor
Date of birth (1928-07-02)2 July 1928
Place of birth Nottingham, England
Date of death 4 October 1990(1990-10-04) (aged 62)
Place of death Majorca, Spain
Playing position Goalkeeper
Youth career
1945 Nottingham Forest
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1950–1955 Coventry City 86 (0)
1955–1961 Middlesbrough 140 (0)
1961–1962 Port Vale 1 (0)
1962–1965 Burton Albion
Total 227+ (0+)
Teams managed
1962–1965 Burton Albion
1965–1967 Hartlepools United (assistant)
1967–1973 Derby County (assistant)
1973–1974 Brighton & Hove Albion (assistant)
1974–1976 Brighton & Hove Albion
1976–1982 Nottingham Forest (assistant)
1982–1984 Derby County

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

† Appearances (goals)

Peter Thomas Taylor (2 July 1928 – 4 October 1990) was an English football goalkeeper and manager. His name is closely associated with that of Brian Clough, with whom he served as assistant manager at various clubs from the 1960s to the 1980s.

Playing 20 years of professional football, he started in the Nottingham Forest reserves, before making his name at Coventry City from 1950 to 1955. He then spent six years as Middlesbrough's first choice 'keeper, making 140 league appearances for the side. He saw out his career with Port Vale in 1961–62.

His first management position was at non-league Burton Albion from 1962 to 1965. Following this he spent nine years as Brian Clough's number two at Hartlepools United, Derby County and Brighton & Hove Albion. From 1974 to 1976 he was Brighton manager, choosing not to team up again with Clough until 1976, at Nottingham Forest. The pair enjoyed a highly successful partnership, and were going strong at Forest until Taylor retired in May 1982. Six months later he took the top job at Derby County, where he remained until his permanent retirement in 1984.

Playing career[edit]

A Nottingham local, Taylor started his career with Nottingham Forest, though never made a first team league appearance. In 1950 he joined Coventry City. Under the stewardship of Harry Storer, Jr., the "Sky Blues" finished seventh in the Second Division in 1950–51, before suffering relegation in 1951–52. They finished sixth in the Third Division South in 1952–53, before dropping to 14th place under Jack Fairbrother in 1953–54, then ninth in 1954–55. Taylor kept goal in 86 league games in his five years at Highfield Road.

He was sold to Middlesbrough in the Summer of 1955 by Jesse Carver the new Coventry manager, following an assessment of the playing staff by Carver and new coach George Raynor. In Ashley Hyne's biography of George Raynor this transfer is deemed one 'that changed the course of British football history' for it was at Middlesbrough that Taylor first met Brian Clough, an up-and-coming young striker. Spotting Clough's potential he helped him achieve a first team place. Manager Bob Dennison led "Boro" to 14th in the Second Division in 1955–56, then sixth in 1956–57, seventh in 1957–58, 13th in 1958–59, and fifth in 1959–60 and 1960–61. In his six years at Ayresome Park, he made a total of 140 league appearances.

In June 1961, Port Vale manager Norman Low paid £750 for Taylor's services.[1] Largely unneeded at Vale Park, Ken Hancock being a virtual ever-present from 1960 to 1964, his only appearance was in a 2–1 defeat at Bradford Park Avenue in a Third Division clash on 3 February 1962.[1] He left on a free transfer for Burton Albion in May 1962, where he began his management career.[1]

Management career[edit]

In October 1962, Taylor was offered the manager's job at Burton Albion. He created one of the most successful sides in Burton's history, winning the Southern League Cup in 1964. A year later he became Clough's assistant manager at Hartlepools United (now Hartlepool United). Before their arrival, the club had been forced to apply for re-election to the Football League four times in the previous six years. The two gradually turned around the club's fortunes, leading them to an 8th-place finish in the Fourth Division.

While Clough inspired and motivated the team, it was Taylor who had the ability to spot talent and potential. Clough once said of his colleague: "I'm not equipped to manage successfully without Peter Taylor. I am the shop window and he is the goods in the back." Taylor himself described their partnership as: "We just gelled together, we filled in the gaps...My strength was buying and selecting the right player, then Brian's man management would shape the player."

Derby County[edit]

In May 1967 both men left to join Derby County. The team they built at Hartlepools was promoted the following year. At Derby, Taylor and Clough proceeded to re-build the side, with Taylor instrumental in signing players such as Dave Mackay and Roy McFarland. Derby were promoted to the First Division in 1969. They finished fourth in 1970 and won the League Championship in 1972 – the first in the club's history. Derby reached the semi-finals of the European Cup the following season, controversially losing to Juventus. On 15 October 1973, both he and Clough resigned, partially after a dispute with the Derby board over Taylor's crucial but largely undefined role, although numerous reasons were behind Clough and Taylor's resignation.[2] There were protests over this at Derby's next home game against Leicester City on 20 October 1973, as the Derby fans demanded the reinstatement of both Clough and Taylor.

Brighton & Hove Albion[edit]

The two then took over at Third Division Brighton on 1 November 1973, though this time with less success. Just after Clough and Taylor were appointed, the team lost 4–0 at home to Walton & Hersham in an FA Cup replay and then 8–2 at home to Bristol Rovers on 1 December 1973. Brighton finished 19th in the final table that season, narrowly avoiding relegation to the old Fourth Division.

Clough left for Leeds United in July 1974, but Taylor refused to go with Clough and he stayed on at the South coast club for a further two seasons, guiding the team to a 4th-place finish in 1975–76.

Nottingham Forest[edit]

On 16 July 1976, Taylor resigned as manager and joined once again with Clough, who had by this time moved on to Nottingham Forest. A year later Brighton were promoted to the Second Division under Alan Mullery and in 1978–79 they reached the First Division.

Within a year of Taylor's arrival, Forest were promoted to the First Division. In 1977, Taylor and Clough decided to replace John Middleton with Peter Shilton, whom they purchased for £270,000; Taylor reasoned: "Shilton wins you matches."[3] In their first season back in the top division, Forest emphatically won the Championship, finishing seven points clear of runners-up Liverpool, conceding just 24 goals in 42 games with Shilton in goal.[3] They also won the League Cup, with a 1–0 win over Liverpool in the replay. In 1979, Forest won the European Cup with victory over Malmö FF and the League Cup again. The European Cup was retained a year later, this time against Kevin Keegan's Hamburger SV, though the club were denied a third consecutive League Cup win after a defeat in the final by Wolves.

Return to Derby County[edit]

Taylor retired in May 1982 after Forest finished 12th in the league and were knocked out of the FA Cup in the Third Round by Wrexham, but took over as manager of Derby six months later in November of that year, to the great surprise of most people in the game.[4] At the time Derby were going through serious financial problems and were bottom of the table, but he steered them to a mid-table position by the end of the season. In the Third Round of the FA Cup on 8 January 1983 they knocked out Clough's Forest team with a 2–0 win at the Baseball Ground. They reached the 5th round, being knocked out by Manchester United 1–0 at home. That season, Derby went through a 14-match unbeaten run. However, the following season saw the team struggle again, and Taylor resigned in early April 1984 with the club third from bottom of the Second Division. There was no money to spend on new players. Derby were almost bankrupt and were rescued at the last minute in late March 1984. However, the team reached the quarter-finals of the FA Cup that season, being knocked out 1–0 in a replay against Plymouth Argyle by means of a freak goal direct from a corner. The revenue obtained from the FA Cup run almost certainly helped to keep the club afloat.

For a few months in 1985 Taylor worked part-time to help Richie Barker at Notts County.

Rift with Clough[edit]

Taylor's friendship and partnership with Clough had been strained on various occasions in the past. While at Derby, Taylor was riled when he learned that Clough had received a pay rise from chairman Sam Longson; Taylor did not get one. He was also annoyed that Clough was often away earning extra money from media work while he was left to do a larger share of the work with the players. His unhappiness led him to accept an offer to be assistant to Manchester United manager Frank O'Farrell in 1972, though in the event the deal was blocked by Matt Busby. The relationship worsened in the autumn of 1980 when Taylor published With Clough, by Taylor, an autobiography which was largely based on Taylor's work with Clough. Taylor had not told Clough that he was writing the book and, to Clough's ire, did not give him a share of the proceeds.

Although they initially parted on good terms when Taylor retired in May 1982, the relationship was finally damaged permanently after a dispute over the transfer of John Robertson from Forest to Derby, whom Taylor was now managing, in May 1983. Clough was apparently angered that Taylor did not inform him about the deal.[3] Clough attacked Taylor in a tabloid article on 3 July 1983 as being a "rattlesnake", "a snake-in-the-grass" and said that "We pass each other on the A52 going to work on most days of the week. But if his car broke down and I saw him thumbing a lift, I wouldn't pick him up, I'd run him over". Taylor himself considered suing Clough for libel over the article.

The two men would never speak to one another again.[3] During the final years of his life, Taylor wrote newspaper articles giving his view on football. In 1989, a year before he died, Taylor urged Clough in a tabloid article to retire before either a chairman like Longson forced him out or his health suffered under the strain of being a top-level manager, forcing him into premature retirement, which happened four years later.


Peter Taylor died suddenly whilst on holiday in Costa De Los Pinos, Majorca, aged 62 on 4 October 1990 of pulmonary fibrosis,[5] with which he had been diagnosed when he was 59. When told of Taylor's death by Ron Fenton, Clough apparently did not speak, put the phone down on him and cried heavily.[6] He also, whilst very upset, made a phone call to the Taylor family. Clough attended the funeral 11 days later and dedicated his 1994 autobiography to Taylor saying "To Peter. Still miss you badly. You once said: 'When you get shot of me there won't be as much laughter in your life'. You were right".[6]

Taylor is buried in the churchyard of St Peter's Church in Widmerpool, Nottinghamshire.[7]


Clough paid tribute to Taylor when he was awarded the freedom of the city of Nottingham in March 1993, saying that "I have only one regret today, and that is that me mate isn't here with me". He also paid tribute to Taylor in September 1999 when a bust of himself was unveiled at the City Ground, saying that he would like the "Brian Clough Stand" to be renamed the "Brian Clough and Peter Taylor Stand" in recognition of the big contribution Taylor made to the partnership.

He was portrayed by Timothy Spall in The Damned United, a multi-million pound film released in 2009 based on Clough's ill-fated spell at Leeds United.[4]

In April 2009 Derby County announced that there would be a statue of the former Rams' managers Brian Clough and Peter Taylor, to be erected at Pride Park Stadium.[8] Clough is already honoured with statues in Nottingham and Middlesbrough.[9] The sculptor Andy Edwards, who also produced the Steve Bloomer bust unveiled in the stadium, was commissioned to work on the statue.[10] The Brian Clough and Peter Taylor Monument was unveiled in August 2010.

In October 2009, Taylor's family complained that not enough had been done to recognise his achievements, in particular his daughter, Wendy Dickinson, bemoaned Nottingham Forest having his "contribution... written out of the history".[11]

In January 2010 Wendy Dickinson appealed for help to write a new book about her father. She has asked for former players, fans and neighbours to contact her with anecdotes about her late father.[12]

In September 2015 it was announced that the Main Stand at the City Ground would be renamed the Peter Taylor Stand as part of the 150th anniversary celebrations at Nottingham Forest.



Burton Albion

Joint Manager[edit]

Derby County

Assistant Manager[edit]

Nottingham Forest


  1. ^ a b c Kent, Jeff (1996). Port Vale Personalities. Witan Books. p. 288. ISBN 0-9529152-0-0. 
  2. ^ "Happy birthday Brian!". BBC Nottingham. 21 March 2002. Retrieved 18 May 2009. 
  3. ^ a b c d Stevenson, Jonathan (21 September 2004). "Forest's unforgettable fairytale". BBC Sport. Retrieved 18 May 2009. 
  4. ^ a b "Peter Taylor, my father". BBC Nottingham. Retrieved 18 May 2009. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b "Brian Clough 1935–2004: England's Greatest". Soccerphile. Retrieved 18 May 2009. 
  7. ^ [1]
  8. ^ "Fans may honour Clough and Taylor". BBC News. 16 April 2009. Retrieved 18 May 2009. 
  9. ^ "Rams to honour Clough and Taylor". BBC News. 30 April 2009. Retrieved 18 May 2009. 
  10. ^ Derby County: Clough and Taylor statue for Pride Park, Derby Telegraph, 30 April 2009. Retrieved 7 March 2010
  11. ^ "Is Peter Taylor a forgotten hero?". BBC Derby. 8 October 2009. Retrieved 12 October 2009. 
  12. ^ "Tell your tales of Taylor". Hartlepool Mail. 

External links[edit]