It seems that life in the Football League has settled to an extent, following the manic month of January, and all of the chopping and changing that it brings. Although there has been some movement, there have been fewer managerial casualties of late, a statistic that can only be good for a side’s consistency, an aspect that the examples of Manchester United and Arsenal prove can be invaluable in the formation of a good side.
Conversely, we saw that Bradford City and Stuart McCall had a mutual parting of ways last week, with the Scot admitting that his tenure had not been the success that he had hoped it would be. Of course it is a shame that a character so popular with the Bantams fans could not turn the club’s fortunes around, but McCall should be commended for his open and honest approach to the decision he took. Bradford are still in with a shout of making the play-off’s this season, and it is with this in mind that the chairmen have moved quickly to announce the new manager. Peter Taylor arrives at Valley Parade on a contract which will run to the end of the season. A unique deal, this will allow both parties to assess their new working relationship, in order that the right decisions are made as to how Bradford are to move forward next year. It is the ideal scenario. Taylor in essence is being given an extended second interview for the job. The club seem to be in little danger of being sucked into a relegation battle and so there is a lot less pressure on Taylor. The club meanwhile will be able to assess the former Wycombe manager’s suitability to their club, and decide just how well the two can work together in taking the club forward. Although an unusual arrangement, this doesn’t necessarily mean a bad partnering.
Taylor is a well-known figure in English football, particularly in the lower divisions, having enjoyed success with a number of clubs. Last season, he won his fifth promotion in the Football League, leading Wycombe to an automatic place at the first time of asking. His experience and knowledge of the game is unrivalled and indeed, he has beaten a number of high profile applicants to this position, with names such as Steve Cotterill, Martin Allen and Jim Magilton all said to have applied for the Valley Parade hot-seat. With this in mind, it is worth having a look at Taylor’s managerial career thus far. After early spells with Southend and non-league Dover and Dartford, Taylor was appointed coach of the England u-21 side. An impressive record was not enough however, as he was replaced by Howard Wilkinson, before moving on to join Gillingham. In his first season in Kent, he led the Gills to promotion via the play-offs into the Championship, prompting Taylor to move on to bigger and better things with Premier League Leicester City. He was to last just over a year at Filbert Street. A phenomenal start to the campaign had seen the Foxes top the table, but a shocking end to the season, coupled with an unexpected cup defeat to future employers Wycombe and a dismal start to the 2001/02 season saw his superiors take action. Whilst at Leicester, Taylor also took charge of the senior England side for a friendly in Italy.
His next challenge was with Brighton and again, he won promotion, this time as champions, in his one and only season at the Withdean. His greatest achievement perhaps came at Hull however, where he steadied the ship in his first season, before leading the Tigers to two successive promotions. It would be na