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Posted on: Wed 22 Jun 2011

In Brentford's match day programme over the course of the 2010/11 season, Nick Bruzon has been finding out what has happened to some former Brentford stars.

Today and tomorrow, reproduces Nick's article on Bob Taylor.

Look through the record books at Griffin Park and you will find many famous strike pairings. Those that fared particularly well even seem to have acquired their own nickname. What about George Francis and Jim Towers - affectionately known as 'The Terrible Twins'? Then there are Dean Holdsworth and Gary Blissett, so tight a partnership that the inseparable duo were, simply, 'Deano and Bliss'. One can only imagine the title that Mark McCammon and Murray Jones would have acquired had they ever played together.

Today's 'Where Are They Now?' interviewee is somebody who was an integral half of one such pairing. As part of the 'FT index', you could 'bank' on him to 'share' the goals alongside the man who (at the time of writing) occupies the Brentford Interim Manager's office. With a support cast including the likes of Marcus Bent and Carl Asaba their 'stock continued to rise'. As we all know what Nicky Forster is up to at present, our guest can only be the goal-scoring machine that is Bob Taylor.

Robert Taylor

Before you read on, I will apologise to those of a sensitive disposition that, later on, we will talk about 'that miss' in the play off semi final at Huddersfield - something that still sticks in the mind of fans who were there because it was so out of keeping for a player with such phenomenal goal scoring power. Someone who, in his own interview earlier this season, former team-mate Paul Abrahams would happily describe as "Still, to this day… the best finisher I have ever seen or played with".

First things first though, and bang up to date with what he is currently doing. Having returned to his native East Anglia where he has been involved with a number of non-league clubs, Bob is currently manager of Diss Town in the Ridgeons League Division One.

Robert Taylor

"It's my third season here. I was at Dereham Town before, managing there for three years. I'm a local lad in Norfolk. I come from this area and people know me anyway. I was at Dereham and didn't get on too well with the behind the scenes people, as such. This job came up so I went for it and got it."

Ridgeons League One is in the sixth stage of the league pyramid (taking the Conference as step one). A look at the table shows the club are well set for promotion, as things currently stand.

"It's going well this season and the boys have learnt over the last couple of years. We've been together the last two years as a team, I've added two or three to it this year and another couple to the squad just this week. The top three go up in this division so hopefully we can get in there and back up to the Premier Division where the club belong.

"They used to be up in the Premier Division but got relegated, I think, five seasons ago and have been trying to get back ever since. They've put a lot of money out on players but it just hasn't worked for them so I've come in and said - 'We'll do it on a limited budget, get players in and make them better. Also, we'll have the youth set up there'. I've brought that into the club so now they've got from seven years old through to 16 years old. There's an under 18 team; we've got an A-team and also a reserve team. At the end of the day it's got to be a football club. You've got to have the youngsters there to make it a football club."

Co-ordinating this many teams and age groups would sound like a full time occupation but Diss Town is no different to other clubs at this level. That said, it is a role which clearly appeals to Bob. "It's part time but I'm always on the phone talking to other managers and players, trying to get players in and that sort of thing. We only train once a week because the boys have got jobs to do but it`s enjoyable because you've got honest boys who want to play football on a Saturday afternoon. That's all they want to do. You haven't got players at our club, in my team, and I wouldn't have it, who just want to turn up for the money. It's hard work with players sometimes. You try to tell them to do something and they can't do it so it's frustrating for me but, hopefully, the boys we've got in at the moment have taken things on board and we can progress together as a club. I want to coach at the highest level I can and I've learnt a lot over the last seven years of being a manager. Hopefully that will stand me in good stead for the future."

Robert Taylor

Bob's post-professional career seems to have been very locally concentrated over the last few years (as well as the aforementioned teams, he has also played at Gorleston and managed both Kings Lynn and Watton United). With these aspirations to get to the highest level, is it part of the big plan to stay in the area or to go upwards and onwards?

"It's just because my kids are at a funny age. The eldest is twelve, the next ten and then eight. It's at the stage now where they are settled in their schools, my wife is settled in her job and now I'm looking to get back into football again with academy teams or as somebody's assistant somewhere to progress on myself. I'll move away and they will stay in Norfolk. While they were growing up I wanted to be around them and not move too far away. Now, it's time for me to try and get back into the game."

A certain Mr Forster has a caretaker role at the moment and, who knows, may need an assistant? It is a comment that produces a potentially intriguing suggestion from his former playing partner…

"I have seen that. Ask him, 'Does he need an assistant?'. I haven't been in touch with Nicky for a while but it would be nice to get the old FT Index back from years ago. I watched the Exeter game the other night and he did well.

"I enjoy football and always have. The day-to-day stuff in the club of being around the players all the time I miss. I'd like to get back into it in a role like that because I've got a lot to offer people with the experience I have playing at that level and a higher one."

However, whilst he remains at Diss Town Bob sounds fiercely committed to the team, as much for the job as the satisfaction he gets. "Hopefully I can help players along and I'd just love to get back into the game one day but I am enjoying what I'm doing at the moment. Diss Town are a good club, I love being in charge of things and doing it my way."

For some ex-pros, the step into management is something that has been planned during their playing careers whilst, for others, it comes that little bit more out of the blue. In Bob's case, the later route was very much the one taken.

Robert Taylor

"I was living in Birmingham at the time and the local team I'd grown up with as a kid, Watton United, were talking about folding the club. They were sitting in Division One of the Anglian Combination League and I came down to watch them one night in a friendly. They were saying that the chairman was thinking of folding because there was no money, no manager and that kind of thing. I said - 'I'll do it'. He nearly dropped down dead when I said I'd take over. So I took over that summer and we got promoted to the Premier in the first season! I went out and got players in, players that would work for you and want to play for you. That's the biggest thing - if you get honest lads in, you are half way there and we got promoted in my first year of management."

Late in the 1993/94 season, Bees manager David Webb signed Taylor from Leyton Orient, a transfer that has since been described by the Club as our "Greatest acquisition for some time". This proved to be even more astute an observation when Forster was to join at the start of the following campaign. Was a move across London from East to West something that Bob had been particularly looking for?

"I think the club at the time were in financial difficulty and were looking to offload players. I turned out to be the 'asset', going for £100,000 I think it was. It was a lot of money to pay. I knew Dave Webb had been watching in some of the games and sent a scout down to watch me. Then the club accepted the bid when it came in. They got their hundred grand and I moved to Brentford - simple as that."

"Simple as that" seems somewhat of an understatement when you think what was to follow. Much like the start of his managerial career, Bob seemed to hit the ground running. In his first full season he and Nicky just clicked and, whilst it must have been fantastic as a striker to get going like this, he is quick to pay tribute to the entire team rather than any individual.

"The main thing is that you get on well with everybody. The whole side at Brentford got on well together. We were a tight knit group and we enjoyed playing with each other. It's one of those things where, like I said earlier on, you have a team who want to play well and who want to win matches. People for whom wanting to play for a manager is the biggest thing. Tony Pulis has it at Stoke City right now. He's got players who want to play for him.

"You feel more comfortable in training. You feel at ease. You can relax and enjoy yourself. We felt like that being there. We all stayed together and enjoyed our time. We couldn't wait to come into training and there wasn't one person there you didn't like. We just got on well with each other and enjoyed our company in the training sessions each day. Dave Webb is a tough man to play under and a lot of the boys were scared of him. That probably gave you the edge of wanting to win on a Saturday - you were scared to lose - but we had success there and that was good."

 Part two of Nick Bruzon's interview with Bob Taylor will be on the Official Site tomorrow

Robert Taylor
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