Peter John Taylor (born 3 January 1953) is an English retired footballer who is currently assistant coach of New Zealand. He has been the manager of Dartford, Southend United, Dover Athletic, Leicester City, Brighton and Hove Albion, Hull City, Crystal Palace, Kerala Blasters, Stevenage Borough, Wycombe Wanderers, Bradford City and Gillingham twice, leaving the last role at the end of 2014. He also had two spells as head coach of the England under-21 team and took charge of the England national team for one game against Italy where he made David Beckham captain. He recently managed England under-20 team in 2013. Outside of England, Taylor was the head coach of the Bahrain national football team.
During his time as a player with Crystal Palace during the 1970s, Taylor became one of the few players to have been selected for the senior England team when not playing in the top two flights of a domestic league.
Taylor enjoyed a successful playing career as a winger. He began his youth career with Canvey Island, and had trials at Tottenham Hotspur and Crystal Palace before signing as a junior with Southend United in 1971. Southend gained promotion to the old third division in 1972 and Taylor's part in their success brought him to the attention of Crystal Palace manager, Malcolm Allison, who signed him on 11 October 1973 for £110,000. Palace were relegated to the third tier at the end of that season but Taylor was named "Player of the Year" and remained at the club for two further seasons becoming player of the year again in 1976. The 1975–76 season was a high point in Taylor's career as Palace reached the FA Cup semi-final, Taylor scoring two goals in the quarter-final in a 3–2 away win at Chelsea and he also made four appearances for the full England team, scoring twice. However Palace's season tailed off after the semi-final and they did not achieve promotion to the second tier. At the end of the season Allison resigned and was replaced by Terry Venables and on 30 September 1976 Taylor was allowed to depart for top flight Tottenham Hotspur, for a fee of £400,000. Taylor had a mixed career at Spurs, suffering relegation in 1977 but the club was promoted in 1978. Taylor did not make another England appearance and in 1980 moved on to Leyton Orient having made 123 appearances for Tottenham scoring 31 times. Taylor played 56 times for Orient scoring 11 times in three seasons and had a brief loan spell at Oldham Athletic. In 1983–84 Taylor made eight appearances for Exeter City before moving into non-league football with firstly Maidstone United, and then Chelmsford City and Dartford.
Taylor made his England debut as a substitute versus Wales and scored the winning goal in the 80th minute of that game. He scored his second international goal against the same opponents in the next match that he played. Taylor was the last English footballer to score two goals in his first two international games before Rickie Lambert repeated the feat in 2013.
After his playing career ended, Taylor embarked on a career as a coach and manager.
Taylor became player manager at non-league club Dartford. In his four seasons there, club attendances rose from 400 to around 1000, he won the Southern Cup twice and each season he was there Dartford scored more than 100 goals. Taylor's first managerial role in the Football League was at Southend United. He spent two years between 1993 and 1995 as manager, but quit at the end of the 1994–95 season after failing to get them beyond the middle of the Division One table. Taylor took on the job as manager of Conference club Dover Athletic in 1995–96 season and guided the club to 20th, enough to stave off the threat of relegation as only two clubs were relegated that season.
He agreed and signed a two-year contract at Dover in May 1996 but was to leave the club only two months later after being asked by then England boss Glenn Hoddle to manage the England under-21 side. His record (for competitive matches) was 15 played; 11 won, three drawn and one defeat. In this time, England finished ninth in 1998 European Championship and qualified for the 2000 finals comfortably, winning every match without conceding a goal. But with three matches to play, Taylor was replaced in a controversial manner by Howard Wilkinson, who won the next two matches. The three goals conceded in the 3–1 defeat to group runners-up Poland were the only blemish on the team's qualifying record. England under Wilkinson later got knocked out in the group stage of the finals, winning against Turkey but losing to Slovakia and champions Italy.
Taylor returned to club management at the beginning of the 1999–2000 season with Gillingham, and at the end of the season guided them to victory over Wigan Athletic in the Division Two play-off final which marked the Kent club's promotion to the upper half of the English league for the first time in their history. During this season he also guided the Gills to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup after impressive wins over Premiership opposition in Bradford City and Sheffield Wednesday (a brace of 3-1 home wins), before losing 5–0 away to Chelsea in the last eight.
A few weeks later he left the club to take charge at Leicester City in the Premier League. He had an excellent start at the East Midlands club and they went top of the league on 1 October 2000. They stayed at the top of the league for two weeks (Taylor having been voted Premier League Manager of the Month for September 2000) and were in contention for a UEFA Cup place for well over half a season, but nine defeats from their final 10 games sucked them down to 13th place in the wake of a shock defeat by Wycombe Wanderers in the FA Cup quarter-final.
After a terrible start to the 2001–02 season, Taylor was sacked on 30 September 2001.
In November 2000, whilst managing Leicester, Taylor was appointed caretaker manager of England for one match. For that game, a 1–0 defeat by Italy in the Stadio Delle Alpi in Turin on 15 November 2000, Taylor looked to youth. He handed David Beckham the captain's armband for the first time, and used six players then still eligible for the Under-21s; Gareth Barry, Jamie Carragher, Kieron Dyer, Rio Ferdinand, Emile Heskey and Seth Johnson.
Brighton & Hove Albion
After being sacked by Leicester, he returned to management within two weeks to take charge at Brighton & Hove Albion whose previous manager Micky Adams had become the new assistant manager of Leicester City. Taylor guided Brighton to the Division Two championship (marking their return to the upper half of the English league after 11 years) but resigned from his job at the end of the season, citing a low budget and the delay to the new stadium.
In November 2002 Taylor was appointed manager of Hull City who were weeks away from their move to the 25,404-seat KC Stadium. A mid-table finish was followed in 2003–04 by promotion as Division Three runners-up. They finished League One runners-up the following season, 2004–05, and thus reached the Football League Championship in the 2005–06 season – their first appearance at that level since 1990–91, and they finished 18th in the league.
England U-21 (second spell)
Taylor had returned to manage England's U-21 team for a second spell in 2004, combining the role with his job at Hull. England comfortably progressed from their qualification group for the 2006 finals but lost to eventual semi-finalists France in a play-off over two legs. He initially retained his position after joining Crystal Palace, and the team qualified for the 2007 finals. However, he left in January 2007 as the new senior manager, Steve McClaren, wanted the England U-21 manager's role to be a full-time position. Taylor's record in competitive fixtures in his second spell with the U21s was 16 played; 9 won, 5 drawn and 2 lost.
Success at Hull drew attention from other clubs, and Taylor returned to former club Crystal Palace in June 2006 after Palace agreed a £300,000 compensation package with Hull. He only lasted 16 months at Selhurst Park as he was sacked in October 2007 after a run of poor form left the Eagles hovering dangerously above the bottom three.
A few weeks after his departure from Palace, Taylor was appointed manager of Conference team Stevenage Borough in November 2007. His first purchase in this role was Junior Lewis, a player he had previously brought into five other clubs (Dover, Gillingham, Leicester, Brighton and Hull).
On 28 April 2008, Taylor left Stevenage Borough after 6 months in-charge when his short-term contract ran out and he had failed to get them into the end of season play-offs. They finished the season in 6th place, 22 points behind the champions, having been in 3rd place and just 4 points off top spot when he first took charge.
On 29 May 2008, he became Wycombe Wanderers manager, following the resignation of Paul Lambert after their failure to reach the League Two play-off final. He signed Junior Lewis, this time as first team coach. Taylor had a successful start to the 2008–09 season as Wycombe went on an 18-game unbeaten run in the league with promotion to League One being secured on the final day of the season. However, he was dismissed on 9 October 2009 after Wycombe's slow start to the League One season.
On 16 February 2010, Taylor replaced Stuart McCall to become manager of League Two side Bradford City initially on a three-month contract until the end of the 2009–10 season. Junior Lewis was employed as first team coach, working with assistant manager Wayne Jacobs and youth team coach David Wetherall. Taylor signed a one-year contract at Bradford the day before Bradford played Northampton. In January 2011, Taylor turned down an offer from Premier League Newcastle United to be assistant to their new manager Alan Pardew. After three successive defeats later in the month, Taylor came under pressure but vowed to carry on, saying: "I'm not a fool, I can tell that I'm probably not the most popular manager Bradford City's ever had. I'm not prepared to walk away, I'm prepared to take this difficult job head on." City's run of poor form continued and the following month, Taylor and City parted company by mutual consent; although the announcement came before City's game with Stockport County, Taylor remained in charge for one final time.
On 11 July 2011, the Bahrain Football Association signed Taylor to train the national football team. Just a few months later he led Bahrain to winning the football tournament at the 1st GCC Games in Manama, the first time Bahrain's national team had won a regional competition in their history. Bahrain beat arch rivals Saudi Arabia 3–1 in a one-sided final. Taylor received a lot of praise from the players, fans and officials for his achievement.
Two months later, Taylor successfully led the Bahrainian team to clinch football gold in the 2011 Arab Games in Doha, beating Jordan 1–0 in the final with a last-gasp goal by striker Ismail Abdullatif.
Asked in April 2012 about the arrest and torture of up to 150 pro-democracy athletes, including three of his own players, Taylor told reporters: "Don't go there. You're getting boring."
FIFA had to investigate a match after Bahrain defeated Indonesia 10–0, in a World Cup qualifier. Bahrain needed to overcome a 9–0 deficit to have a chance of qualifying for the next stage.
He was sacked on 17 October 2012 after a 2–6 loss to United Arab Emirates in a friendly match.
On March 2013, Taylor was appointed as the England national under-20 football team manager on a two-month contract, to lead the team who had qualified for the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey. In the finals, England under Taylor were knocked out in the group stages, drawing with Iraq and Chile, and losing to Egypt; England finished bottom of their group.
Return to Gillingham
In October 2013, Taylor was appointed Gillingham manager for the second time, on an interim basis, following the club's sacking of Martin Allen. On 11 November he was appointed full-time manager, with a contract lasting until the end of the season. He was relieved of his duties on 31 December 2014.
On 8 May 2015, Indian Super League franchise Kerala Blasters FC appointed Taylor as the head coach for the season ahead. However, after four defeats in the series, on 28 October 2015, Taylor departed as Kerala head-coach by mutual consent.
New Zealand (assistant)
In September 2016, Taylor accepted the offer to become assistant to Anthony Hudson with the New Zealand national football team Taylor will be based in England and will mainly work with the New Zealand players based there.
As a player
- Fourth Division runner-up: 1971–72
- Essex Professional Cup winner: 1972
As a manager
- Southern League Cup winner: 1988, 1989
- Southern League Championship Match winner: 1988, 1989
- Kent Senior Cup winner: 1987, 1988
- Football League Division Two Play-off Final winner: 1999–2000
Brighton & Hove Albion
- Football League Division Two winner: 2001–02
- Football League Division Three promotion: 2003–04
- Football League One promotion: 2004–05
- Football League Two promotion: 2008–09
- Gold Medalists, 2011
- Gold Medalists, 2011
- Updated to 28 October 2015.
|Southend United||August 1993||February 1995||84||27||16||41||32.14|
|England U-21s||July 1996||June 1999||22||13||6||3||59.09|
|Gillingham||July 1999||June 2000||62||34||12||16||54.84|
|Leicester City||June 2000||September 2001||54||19||9||26||35.19|
|England||November 2000||November 2000||1||0||0||1||0.00|
|Brighton & Hove Albion||October 2001||May 2002||38||21||11||6||55.26|
|Hull City||October 2002||June 2006||184||77||50||57||41.85|
|England U-21s||2004||January 2007||16||9||2||5||56.25|
|Crystal Palace||June 2006||October 2007||60||21||16||23||35.00|
|Stevenage Borough||November 2007||April 2008||32||13||4||15||40.63|
|Wycombe Wanderers||May 2008||October 2009||46||19||17||10||41.30|
|Bradford City||February 2010||February 2011||46||18||7||21||39.13|
|Bahrain||July 2011||October 2012||20||7||6||7||35.00|
|England U-20s||March 2013||July 2014||3||0||2||1||0.00|
|Gillingham||October 2013||December 2014||67||23||14||30||34.33|
|Kerala Blasters||May 2015||October 2015||6||1||1||4||16.67|