By Tony Attwood
Stuart Taylor made 26 starts for Arsenal in league and cup, and came on four times as a substitute between 1997 and 2005. Which when you come to think of it means an awful lot of bench sitting over an eight year period. But such is the lot of the second keeper.
Unfortunately for him, even upon leaving Arsenal to try and get regular football he didn’t. In fact in 2013 he completed a stint of five years and 40 days without playing a Premier League game. He played for Aston Villa at Liverpool on January 21, 2008. And then in March 2013 for Reading at Everton.
In between those two events he was registered with Manchester City without playing once. As the chart at the end of this article shows, he’s also had some loan spell appearances, but even the loans don’t always work out. The records show he recently signed for Yeovil on loan, but left after two days. I imagine he was told he was going to be the reserve keeper.
In an interview in 2013 Taylor said, “When I’ve left clubs in the past and my agents have been speaking to clubs and said ‘Stuart Taylor is looking for a club…’ and the first thing they say is ‘oh yeah we know who he is but we have not seen him play for a long time.’
“I expect people do think ‘backup keeper’ when they think of me. That hurts because I feel I’ve got the ability and enough to do a job. “But as much as you can say ‘look at past games I’ve played’, they can say ‘that was ten years ago’ and things have changed, the game has changed.”
But let us not forget that Stuart Taylor won the league with Arsenal in 2002. His story otherwise has been one of trying to play for top clubs but finding other names in the way. David Seaman, Jens Lehmann, Brad Friedel, Shay Given, Joe Hart, Costel Pantilimon have all played in the teams for whom he sat on the bench.
Of his time at Arsenal he said, “Things can change really, really quickly…. When I was at Arsenal I was third choice goalkeeper and before you know it the two in front get injured, you get given a game, I ended up playing 10 games and winning a league medal.
Stuart Taylor joined Arsenal in 1997 as a youth player, and started the round of loans:
- Bristol Rovers (23 September – 23 October 1999)
- Crystal Palace (9 August – 1 October 2000),
- Peterborough United (15 February – 15 March 2001)
- Leicester City (18 November 2004 – 23 January 2005).
His championship medal was achieved by giving him the chance to play as a sub in the final match of the season against Everton in 2002 with the title already won. Richard Wright started in goal, and Taylor came on, after 85 minutes as sub, to get his medal. It was an event that was widely publicised in advance, and something that Arsene Wenger has done with other players – most notably Martin Keown.
He also got FA Cup winner’s medal in 2002 and two Charity Shield winner’s medals in 1999 and 2002, so he might not have got the games, but he got the baubles.
In June 2005 he moved onto Villa as second choice keeper to Thomas Sorensen and Scott Carson. The move to Manchester City on 23 June 2009 was on a free transfer and he played in the FA Cup against Scunthorpe but not much else. He was even released by Man City at one stage, and then re-signed.
The Reading game against Everton came with Taylor being their third choice keeper, but having Adam Federici and Alex McCarthy injured. It was a 3-1 defeat. But Taylor kept his place and on 30 March 2013 he played in the 4-1 defeat to Arsenal at the Ems.
As far as I can work out Taylor then left Reading at the end of the 2013/14 season and doesn’t have a club now – but if you know more about him, please do write in.
|1999||Loan Bristol Rovers||4|
|2000||Loan Crystal Palace||10|
|2004/06||Loan Leicester City||10|
|2009||Loan Cardiff City||8|
But before I finish on Stuart Taylor, let’s also remember his international appearances. He played in the England Under 20 side in the 1999 World Youth Cup, and got four under 21 caps.
He won the league, and played for England, yet never got a top club where he could play football week after week.
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