Stuart James Taylor (born 28 November 1980) is an English footballer who plays as a goalkeeper for Southampton. He is a former England under-21 international.
Taylor joined Arsenal in 1997 as a youth player. He was loaned out several times – to Bristol Rovers (23 September – 23 October 1999), Crystal Palace (9 August – 1 October 2000), Peterborough United (15 February – 15 March 2001) and Leicester City (18 November 2004 – 23 January 2005). In eight years at Arsenal he was often the club's second or third-choice keeper. He did make ten League appearances in Arsenal's 2001–02 Premiership-winning season, thus qualifying him for a winners' medal, although this was only achieved in the final match against Everton, with the title already won. Taylor was on nine appearances but Richard Wright started the game. Wenger substituted him for Taylor on 85 minutes so that he was entitled to a winners' medal.
During his time at Arsenal he was tipped to become David Seaman's successor. However, although he saw off competition from Alex Manninger and Wright, the signings of Jens Lehmann and Manuel Almunia in 2003 and 2004 respectively led to his decision to seek opportunities elsewhere. Taylor missed the whole of the 2003–04 season due to a persistent shoulder problem. In total, Taylor made 30 appearances in all competitions for Arsenal winning a league title, an FA Cup winner's medal and two Charity Shield winner's medals.
In June 2005 Taylor moved to Aston Villa, signing on a four-year deal. He became Villa's second-choice goalkeeper, behind Thomas Sørensen. During the 2005–06 season he made just two appearances for the club. He blocked Wayne Rooney's penalty in a match against Manchester United on 20 October 2007 during a match in which first-choice goalkeeper Scott Carson was sent off. Aston Villa signed Brad Friedel and Brad Guzan at the start of the 2008–09 season, and Friedel became the first choice goalkeeper. Second choice was Guzan with Taylor slipping down to third. This despite generally putting in good performances, when called upon. Taylor's final game for Villa was the game against Odense BK in the 2008 UEFA Intertoto Cup.
Cardiff City (loan)
In a bid to find first team football, Taylor began to search for a short term loan deal at a Football League side, entering into talks with League One side Leeds United. However, on 13 March 2009, a last minute offer from Cardiff City prompted Taylor to instead opt for the Championship side on a one-month loan deal, becoming the third goalkeeper to sign on loan at the club during the season, after Tom Heaton and Dimitrios Konstantopoulos. He made his debut for the side two days later in a 1–1 draw with Bristol City.
Taylor continued as first choice for Cardiff throughout his first month at the club, despite the return of Tom Heaton from injury, and his loan deal was extended to the end of the season. However, following a 6–0 defeat to Preston North End, Taylor was dropped from the side for the final three games of the season. At the end of the campaign, he returned to Villa Park.
Taylor signed for Manchester City on a free transfer on 23 June 2009, following the expiration of his contract at the end of the 2008–09 season. He officially became a Manchester City player on 1 July 2009. Taylor admitted taking advice from Brad Friedel, who had previously worked with manager Mark Hughes and goalkeeping coach Kevin Hitchcock at Blackburn Rovers. On 18 July 2009, when Manchester City played the South African team Orlando Pirates, Taylor conceded his first two goals for the club. He found himself third in the pecking order behind Joe Hart and Shay Given.
He made his first-team debut in the FA Cup 4th round tie against Scunthorpe United on 24 January 2010. On 10 July, he signed a new two-year deal with the club, despite being officially released by City nine days earlier. Taylor also played against New York Red Bulls on 25 July 2010 in the second half in City's US Tour, and conceded one goal in a 2–1 defeat. He was then seen as third choice goalkeeper for City after he was benched with Costel Pantilimon starting in front of him at the League Cup tie against former club Arsenal, which City won 1–0. After winning the 2011–12 Premier League title as Manchester City's third choice goalkeeper, he was released by City for a second time on 1 June 2012, alongside other goalkeeper Gunnar Nielsen.
Reading announced on 13 July 2012 that Taylor was currently training with them and would play a part in their first team friendly with AFC Wimbledon on 14 July 2012. On 20 August 2012 Reading manager Brian McDermott announced that they had signed Taylor on a 1-year contract. Injuries to both Adam Federici and Alex McCarthy saw Taylor make his Reading debut on 2 March in a 3–1 defeat to Everton in the Premier League. Taylor played against his former club Arsenal on 30 March 2013 in a 4–1 loss at the Emirates Stadium. Taylor signed a new one-year deal with Reading, keeping him at the club till June 2014, on 2 August 2013.
On 18 November 2013, Taylor joined fellow Championship side Yeovil Town on an initial one-month loan deal. Taylor's loan with Yeovil was cut short without making a competitive appearance after just two days due to "personal reasons".
Taylor's spell at Reading, found him as a backup goalkeeper to regular goalkeepers Alex McCarthy and Adam Federici. He left the club at the end of the 2013–14 season upon the expiry of his contract.
On 3 July 2014, Taylor signed a one-year contract with Leeds United. Taylor revealed that he was hoping to challenge for the number 1 spot, after revealing that Leeds were also looking to sign another goalkeeper. On 8 July, Leeds signed a new number 1 goalkeeper in Marco Silvestri from Chievo Verona. On 1 August, Taylor was assigned the Leeds number 13 shirt for the 2014–15 season.
Taylor made his Leeds United debut on 12 August 2014, starting the League Cup match against Accrington Stanley. Taylor started for Leeds on 27 August in the 2–1 defeat against Bradford City in the League Cup.
Taylor made his league debut in the game against Charlton Athleltic on 18 April 2015 in a 2–1 loss, with Taylor giving away a penalty.
On 13 May 2015, upon the expiry of his contract, Leeds announced that they would not be renewing Taylor's contract at the club.
On 26 August 2016, after a year without a club, Taylor joined Southampton on a one-year contract.
Taylor played for the England U20 team at the 1999 FIFA World Youth Championship alongside Ashley Cole, Peter Crouch and Andy Johnson. He was capped four times for the England U21 team.
- As of match played 24 May 2016
|Club||Season||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Other||Total|
|Bristol Rovers (loan)||1999–2000||Second Division||4||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||4||0|
|Crystal Palace (loan)||2000–01||First Division||10||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||10||0|
|Peterborough United (loan)||2000–01||Second Division||6||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||6||0|
|Leicester City (loan)||2004–05||Championship||10||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||10||0|
|Aston Villa||2005–06||Premier League||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||2||0|
|Cardiff City (loan)||2008–09||Championship||8||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||8||0|
|Manchester City||2009–10||Premier League||0||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||0|
- FA Premier League: 2001–02
- FA Cup: 2003
- FA Community Shield: 1999, 2002
- FA Cup: 2011