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Robert Taylor

Robert Taylor
Norwich Career: 1989-1991
Current Club: Watton (Anglian Combination) (Manager)
Date of Birth: 30/04/1971(Norwich) 
Nationality: English


A Norwich born lad, Robert Taylor joined his hometown side as a youngster signing professional terms after he was spotted playing for Watton aged 16. A regular in the Reserves, he made 29 appearances for the second string in 1989/90 scoring 11 goals. He spent the summer of 1990 with Norwegian side Mjolner to gain further experience. However upon returning, he could not break into the Norwich first team and was released without making a single first-team appearance.

A move to Birmingham City was similarly unsuccessful and he failed to add to the three league appearances that he gained whilst on loan to Leyton Orient from Norwich. He must have impressed Orient's management team as they signed him from Birmingham. 73 league appearances for Leyton Orient resulted in 20 goals and a transfer across London to Brentford.

Successful partnerships at Griffin Park with Nicky Forster, Marcus Bent and Carl Asaba brought Robert 43 league goals in 133 appearances by the end of the 1996/97 season. According to Yahoo's Teamtalk service, Robert was supposedly the £600,000 target for Sheffield United with Port Vale and Gillingham also showing an interest. A return to Carrow Road was also been suggested with new Norwich manager Bruce Rioch supposedly impressed with Taylor's abilities. Rioch though denied this. West Bromwich Albion also entered the hunt for the talented striker. However they were all too late as Gillingham paid £500000 for Robert to replace Ade Akinbiyi in August 1998. However Robert found it hard to settle at Gillingham and the goals were not forthcoming. Brentford Chairman/Manager Ron Noades even suggested a return to West London. However Robert scored twice on Saturday 10th October for Gillingham against Wycombe and quietened the "boo boys".

On Saturday 27th March, Robert scored 5 goals for Gillingham at Burnley (who played Neil Moore) This took Robert's tally for the season to 12 league goals. Not only does this equal the all-time goalscoring record for Division Two (including the old Division Three) but is the only occurrence when all five were scored away from home. Gillingham reached the Division Two play-off final at Wembley against Manchester City. Although Taylor scored Gillingham's second to go two nil up with only injury time remaining, Man City managed to equalise and then go through in the penalty shoot-out
In October 1999, Robert was the subject of a 400,000 transfer bid from Portsmouth. This was rejected with Gillingham rejecting this bid as unrealistic for a player who cost them 500,000. Robert showed he was worth more than his original transfer fee when he scored a hat-trick against Wrexham on 9th October making it nine goals in eight games even though he was not even 100% fit. This was followed up by rumours linking Robert with a move to Joe Royle's Manchester City. Royle had been impressed with Robert's form in the play-off final between Gillingham and Manchester City the previous May. According to Sky Sports, Royle offered Gareth Taylor in exchange for his namesake whilst other sources quoted a 1million bid. However City faced competition from Charlton according to Sport First (24th October 1999) who claim the Addicks have made a bid of 1.2million plus young striker Kevin Lisbie who had already spent time on loan at the Priestfield Stadium.

Robert continued scoring freely throughout November and Manchester City were still rumoured to be interested. However Robert was rumoured, by Teamtalk to be heading to Scotland to discuss a multi-million pound deal with Hearts on 26th November 1999. The fear of losing out on this talented striker inspired Man City to up their bid and Robert was signed, pending agreement on personal terms, for 1.5million on 26th November 1999.

Following their promotion to the Premiership in 2000, City had concerns about whether Robert was of Premiership quality, especially his pace. Replacing him with Paulo Wanchope and George Weah, he was made available and joined Wolves on 15th August on a four year contract despite interest and a equal bid of 1.5million from his former Gillingham manager Tony Pulis, now at Portsmouth.

On February 11th 2001, Sport First suggested that Robert might be on his way back to Gillingham in a part-exchange for Gills' hotshot Carl Asaba. Sport First reported on 29th April 2001 that Robert was certain to leave Wolves in the summer as Paul Jones seeks to build the underachieving club in his own style. Robert returned to west London in August 2001 joining QPR on loan on the 29th August initially for one month. On his return, he was loaned out again - this time rejoining Gillingham for a three month period. He made his second debut for the Gills as a second half substitute in the 2-0 home defeat to Norwich on 13th October 2001. Robert returned to Wolves in January 2002 with the two sides unable to come to agreement over his value especially as he failed to score in his 11 loan appearances for the Gills. A third loan spell came on 16th January 2002 with Robert joining Grimsby Town. He returned to Wolves only for them to cancel his contract at the end of March 2002. Robert then rejoined the Mariners on a non-contract basis.

In July 2002, it was reported that Robert was training with financially plagued Bradford City in a bid to win himself a contract. In August 2002, Robert rejoined Grimsby on a short-term contract basis to cover injuries to their forwards especially Steve Livingstone. It appears though that Grimsby didn't really need him as by mid-September, he was trialling with Colchester United.

On March 3rd 2003, Robert signed for Scunthorpe on non-contract terms. However they decided not to renew this past the end of the 2002/03 season leaving Robert looking for another home. In July 2003, Robert trained with Third Division Cheltenham hoping to win a contract with the Gloucestershire side although he will face competition from fellow triallists Peter Beadle (ex-Bristol City) and Bob Taylor (ex-WBA). The potential for confusion between the two Taylors is considerable. Our Robert then surfaced at Chester City and played as a triallist in the 2-0 home defeat to FC Nordsjaelland on 19th July 2003. He then played in the 1-0 victory at Cammell Lairds but pulled his hamstring in that match. Robert then decided that he had enough of injuries and retired from the professional game.

Robert's career came full circle as he returned to Norwich to manage Watton United, the team where he was first spotted by the Canaries. He announced that he considers it a disgrace that Watton are playing in Division One of the Anglian Combination and that he expected promotion to the Premier Division in his first season followed by a return to their "rightful place" in the Ridgeons League. Watton indeed finished in top place in the Anglican Combination Premier Division but Taylor left them to take up the post of Reserve Team manager at Kings Lynn. When Darren Bloodworth and Kevin Boon quit Lynn in September 2004, Robert was appointed caretaker first team manager. This was made permanent on Thursday 7th October 2004 despite competition from ex-Cambridge boss Tommy Taylor, former Nottingham Forest star Lee Glover, Norwich favourite Rob Newman and if you believe the media, both Chris Waddle and Mark Wright.

After a run of seven games without victory, Robert was replaced by former Cambridge manager and namesake Tommy Taylor on 28th October 2004. Robert ruled out any future involvement with the Linnets and is disappointed at the club's decision not to give him an extended run in charge to turn the club's fortunes around. "I am angry, to be honest," he said. "I spoke with the chairman straight after the Banbury game and told him I felt changes needed to be made on the playing side. On Sunday evening I was informed they wanted to go outside the club for a permanent appointment. That was the first I knew - I was gobsmacked. They said I was not experienced enough but I was never given a chance to do it my way, with my own players.If I had been told from day one 'we intend to bring in another guy in a
month or two' then I would have known where I stood. For the first couple of weeks I had to manage the reserves and the first team, organise training, look at players and even take flak when we lost at Merthyr - I worked my tail off and that was all for the good of the club. They asked me 'what do I want to do now?' but there were no discussions about a new role and if I was offered one I would turn it down. They never even thanked me for doing the caretaker duties."

Robert then signed for Ridgeons League side Gorleston but found playing regularly difficult so he turned out for Holt in the Anglian Combination. At the end of December 2004, he was appointed as the new manager of Ridgeons League side Dereham Town in succession to Simon Barnes, who stepped down from the post just before Christmas. Although enjoying his time at Dereham, Robert expressed in November 2005 that he had taken his Level 2 coaching award and was hoping to get his UEFA B award so he could coach at a professional club. He also has signed up with the College of West Anglia at Kings Lynn as their coach.

Despite Dereham twice winning the Norfolk Senior Cup and becoming established as a leading Ridgeons League Premier Division club, Taylor was sacked in early February 2008. The club's committee lost confidence in Taylor and felt some players were not behind him, and he was dismissed on Monday 4th February by 10 votes to one. The news came two days after Dereham lost 4-3 to Sheringham in the Norfok Senior Cup semi-finals - but the club insisted the shock defeat by the Anglian Combination club was not the reason for Taylor's sacking. Taylor said he was “absolutely gutted” at the news and believes he has been “pushed out of the club for no reason whatsoever.” Former Norwich City youth player Adam Gusterson has been appointed Dereham's manager until the end of the season

On 21st April 2008, Robert was appointed as manager of fellow Ridgeons League side Diss Town following the resignation of Paul Tong. Taylor said "Diss Town are a big club, we just have to get six points on the board and hope other results go our way [speaking of Diss' chance of promotion from Ridgeons League Division One when he took charge] "If we're in the First Division next year we'll just have to rebuild and try again. It feels like I've been thrown in at the deep end a little bit, but I've got to accept that and get on with it. It's a shame the way things have panned out at the club with Paul going, I find myself in a bit of a bad situation because I get on with Paul."

Taylor left Diss in October 2012. In 2013, he was named the new manager of Mundford of the Anglian Combination

He joined Norwich City's Community Sport Foundation as Football Engagement Co-ordinator in late 2014.

In May 2016, he was appointed manager of Thurlow Nunn Eastern Counties League side Swaffham Town.

In May 2019, he was appointed first team manager of Watton United, then playing in the Anglian Combination.

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