Martin Taylor (footballer born 1979)

Martin Taylor (footballer born 1979)
Martin Taylor
Martin Taylor signs autographs.jpg
Taylor in Birmingham City colours, 2004
Personal information
Full name Martin Taylor
Date of birth 9 November 1979 (1979-11-09) (age 32)
Place of birth Ashington, England
Height 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Playing position Defender
Club information
Current club Watford
Number 5
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1997–2004 Blackburn Rovers 88 (5)
2000 Darlington (loan) 4 (0)
2000 Stockport County (loan) 7 (0)
2004–2010 Birmingham City 99 (2)
2007 Norwich City (loan) 8 (1)
2010– Watford 65 (8)
National team
2001 England U21 1 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 12:59, 11 May 2011 (UTC).

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 17:00, 20 February 2011 (UTC)

Martin Taylor (born 9 November 1979 in Ashington, Northumberland) is an English footballer who plays as a defender for Watford in the Football League Championship.

Taylor began his career with Blackburn Rovers, for whom he made more than 100 appearances, and also spent time on loan at Darlington and Stockport County. While a Blackburn player, he was capped once for the England under-21 team and played on the winning side in the 2002 Football League Cup Final. Taylor moved to Birmingham City in 2004, where he spent six seasons, and played for Norwich City on loan. He was involved in an incident in 2008 in which Arsenal player Eduardo da Silva suffered a badly-broken leg. Unable to force his way into Birmingham's first team after their return to the Premier League, he joined Watford in January 2010.


Club career

Blackburn Rovers

Taylor joined Blackburn Rovers as a schoolboy at the age of 17, signing his first full contract at the start of the 1997–98 season.

Loan spells at Darlington and Stockport served to improve his self-belief,[1] and in May 2001 he won his first and only cap for the England U-21 side, as a half-time substitute for John Terry in a 3–0 friendly win against Mexico U-21. Though part of the squad for the 2002 European Under-21 Championships, replacing the injured Ledley King, he made no further appearances for the side.

Also in 2002, he played throughout Blackburn's League Cup campaign, culminating in a 2–1 victory over Tottenham Hotspur at the Millennium Stadium.

Blackburn manager Graeme Souness felt that Taylor had enough ability to reach the top, but had for some time believed that without adopting a more aggressive physical approach – one which fitted his 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) frame, which caused his teammates to nickname him "Tiny" – he would not fulfil his potential.[2] He had initially been viewed as a potential replacement for defenders Henning Berg and Craig Short, but, as Berg left the side, instead of giving Taylor his chance to play, Souness signed Lorenzo Amoruso, and when he was injured, took Markus Babbel on loan.

Though reluctant to sell, Souness needed to generate transfer funds,[3] so in January 2004, Blackburn proceeded to accept a £1.25 million bid from Birmingham City.

Birmingham City

On 2 February 2004 Taylor left Blackburn for Birmingham City, signing a contract due to end in 2007. Former Blackburn teammates David Dunn[4] and Damien Johnson[5] highlighted Taylor's footballing ability and comfort on the ball. Rob Kelly, then head of youth coaching at Blackburn, while complimentary about his reading of the game and ability with both feet, felt that working with Birmingham manager Steve Bruce, a former top-class centre-half, in new surroundings might help bring out his unfulfilled potential,[6] an assessment with which Taylor himself agreed.[7]

He made his Birmingham debut in a 3–0 victory against Everton, and in his next game, a 3–1 victory against Middlesbrough, he scored his first league goal for the club. Unable to dislodge the established central defensive partnership of Matthew Upson and Kenny Cunningham, he played regularly for the remainder of the season, but mainly in his less favoured position of right back.[7]

When Bruce brought Taylor to Birmingham he mentioned his admiration for the player's ability to play in any defensive position;[8] this versatility ideally suited him to a backup role in the event of injury to any of the first choice defenders. In the following season, the form and fitness of Upson and Cunningham, together with the arrival of Dutch international fullback Mario Melchiot from Chelsea, considerably restricted Taylor's appearances. In the second half of the 2005–06 season he had a long run in the side due to Upson's ankle injury, a run which coincided with some of Birmingham's better performances.[9]

The departure of Cunningham and Melchiot following Birmingham's relegation from the Premiership, with Upson still injured long-term, provided an opportunity for Taylor to establish his first-team place alongside newly-arrived Bruno N'Gotty. But Bruce also recruited Tunisian international Radhi Jaïdi, and preferred the more robust physical approach of Olivier Tébily while Jaïdi built up match fitness.[10] However N'Gotty's suspension proved the catalyst for an upturn in fortunes for Taylor. He was named captain after Damien Johnson suffered a broken jaw, and his rapport with fellow centre-back Jaïdi helped Birmingham to maintain a strong position in the Championship in the 2006–07 season. In recognition of his value to the club, in April 2007 he signed a new three-year contract with an option for a further two years.[11]

However, he was not first choice with Birmingham back in the Premier League, and did not play in a single league game in the first 2 months of the season. On 1 November 2007, he became new Norwich City manager Glenn Roeder's first signing, joining on a month's loan, due to end on 8 December 2007.[12] In his debut game for Norwich against Ipswich Town on 4 November 2007, Taylor played a large role in his side's first goal, as his header was deflected in off Ipswich defender Owen Garvan. Garvan was eventually credited with the own-goal. Taylor went on to score with a diving header against Blackpool[13] and added considerable solidity at the back for Norwich. Though Norwich hoped to extend the loan, this was not possible so Taylor returned to Birmingham at the end of the initial month.[14]

Following Alex McLeish's arrival as Birmingham manager, Taylor was told that he was surplus to requirements; the club accepted an offer from QPR, reported at £1.25 million, but the player rejected it.[15] However, injury to Rafael Schmitz, Jaïdi's absence on international duty and McLeish's failure to sign any of his defensive targets gave Taylor a first league start of the season in a 1–1 draw with Derby County in January 2008.[16] He kept his place for the next match despite the availability of Schmitz and Jaïdi, and his impressive form left him in McLeish's plans for the remainder of the season.[17]

Eduardo broken leg incident

On 23 February 2008, in the third minute of Birmingham's home match against Arsenal, Taylor committed a foul on Croatian international striker Eduardo da Silva as a result of which Eduardo suffered a compound fracture to his left fibula and an open dislocation of his left ankle. He received treatment on the field for seven minutes before undergoing surgery at a local hospital, and was transferred to a London hospital the following day.[18][19] The injury was so disturbing that Sky Sports, who were broadcasting the game live, decided not to show replays of the incident.[20] Taylor was sent off for the offence.[18]

In his post-match interview, Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger called for a life ban for Taylor,[18] but retracted his remarks later that day, admitting they had been excessive and made in the heat of the moment.[21] Shortly after the match, Birmingham City issued a statement asserting Taylor's lack of malicious intent and his distress at the injury, and sending their best wishes to Eduardo.[18] While Croatia captain Niko Kovač referred to the "brutality" of the incident[22] and death threats appeared on the internet,[23] Birmingham manager Alex McLeish and Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner, a former teammate of Taylor's, insisted that he was not a malicious player,[18][24] and former manager Steve Bruce questioned whether Taylor even deserved a booking.[18]

At president Sepp Blatter's personal request, FIFA's disciplinary chairman reviewed the matter, suggesting that the Football Association increase Taylor's punishment from the standard three-match ban; they refused to do so as there was no suggestion of intent.[25]


Martin Taylor (yellow shirt) playing for Watford against Crystal Palace, February 2011

Taylor joined Watford of the Football League Championship on a free transfer on 29 January 2010. He signed a two-and-a-half-year contract.[26]

Taylor made his Watford debut on 2 February 2010, playing the full 90 minutes against Sheffield United at Vicarage Road.[27] Watford won the match 3–0, with Taylor's commanding display helping towards their first win whilst keeping a clean sheet for over two months. He scored his first goal for Watford in a 2–0 win over Bristol City on 9 February 2010.[28]

Following the departure of USA defender Jay DeMerit in June 2010,[29] Taylor and Adrian Mariappa were Watford manager Malky Mackay's preferred central defensive partnership for the 2010–11 season.[30] Despite struggling with injury towards the end of the season, Taylor managed to start all 46 of Watford's league games.[31] He also played a further three games in other competitions and scored six league goals.[32] Taylor was noted for his consistency during the season,[33] and finished 2nd in the voting for Watford F.C. Player of the Season behind Championship top-scorer Danny Graham.[34]

Taylor scored his first goal of the 2011–12 season on 28 August 2011, in a 2–2 draw against former club Birmingham City.[35][36]


with Blackburn Rovers


  1. ^ "Blackburn squad profiles". BBC Sport. 2002-02-19. Retrieved 2007-03-27. 
  2. ^ "Souness pleads with 'Tiny' Taylor to get tough". Lancashire Evening Telegraph,. 2002-01-26. Retrieved 2007-03-27. 
  3. ^ Tattum, Colin (2003-09-01). "Blues target tipped for England". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 2007-03-27. 
  4. ^ Dunn, David (2004-02-04). "Good bit of business". The Football Association. Archived from the original on 2005-04-05. 
  5. ^ Tattum, Colin (2004-01-31). "Damien backs Tiny to walk tall". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 2007-03-27. 
  6. ^ Clarkson, Ian (2004-02-01). "Taylor looks set to sign". (Birmingham) Sunday Mercury. Retrieved 2007-03-27. 
  7. ^ a b Tattum, Colin (2004-02-03). "Taylor: I am back on track". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 2007-03-27. 
  8. ^ Curtis, John (2006-01-20). "Taylor completes City switch". PA Sport. Retrieved 2007-03-27. 
  9. ^ Tattum, Colin (2008-02-12). "Martin Taylor targets the ton for Birmingham City". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 2008-02-12. 
  10. ^ Tattum, Colin; Berry, Paul (2006-08-26). "Wolves boss targets Blues duo". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 2007-03-27. 
  11. ^ Tattum, Colin (2007-04-06). "Taylor signs new long-term Blues deal". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 2007-04-06. 
  12. ^ "Roeder swoops for defender Taylor". BBC. 2007-11-01. Retrieved 2007-11-01. 
  13. ^ "Blackpool 1–3 Norwich". BBC. 27 November 2007. Retrieved 19 February 2010. 
  14. ^ "Taylor returns to Birmingham City". BBC. 2007-12-13. Retrieved 2007-12-13. 
  15. ^ Tattum, Colin (2007-12-14). "Martin Taylor rejects QPR move". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 2008-02-19. 
  16. ^ Tattum, Colin (2008-02-12). "Martin Taylor targets the ton for Birmingham City". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 2008-02-19. 
  17. ^ "Martin Taylor wins back his Birmingham City place". Birmingham Mail. 2008-02-11. Retrieved 2008-02-19. 
  18. ^ a b c d e f "Wenger fury after Eduardo injury". BBC Sport. 2008-02-23. Retrieved 2008-02-27. 
  19. ^ "Club releases statement on Eduardo injury". Arsenal F.C.. 2008-02-25. Retrieved 2008-10-28. 
  20. ^ Parrish, Rob (2008-02-23). "Eduardo suffers horror break". Sky Sports.,19528,11095_3185899,00.html. Retrieved 2008-02-27. 
  21. ^ Clarke, Richard (2008-02-23). "Wenger – Taylor comments were 'excessive'". Arsenal F.C.. Retrieved 2008-10-28. 
  22. ^ Hodges, Vicki (2008-02-24). "Arsenal face anxious wait on Eduardo update". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2008-02-27. 
  23. ^ Wallace, Sam (2008-02-26). "Arsenal set end of year target for Eduardo". The Independent. Retrieved 2008-10-23. 
  24. ^ Clarke, Richard (2008-02-26). "Bendtner – We must put 'terrible' day behind us". Arsenal F.C.. Retrieved 2008-10-28. 
  25. ^ "Taylor makes Birmingham comeback". BBC Sport. 2008-03-18. Retrieved 2008-03-20. 
  26. ^ "Hornets Sign Defender". Watford F.C. 2010-01-29.,,10400~1949032,00.html. Retrieved 2010-01-29. 
  27. ^ "Watford 3–0 Sheffield Utd". Watford F.C. 2010-02-02.,,10400~47928,00.html. Retrieved 2010-02-02. 
  28. ^ "Watford 2–0 Bristol City". BBC Sport. 2010-02-09. Retrieved 2010-02-19. 
  29. ^ "No big Watford signings, says Malky Mackay". BBC Sport. 7 July 2010. Retrieved 4 September 2011. 
  30. ^ Gibb, Ian (1 April 2011). "Martin Taylor's sure new partner is going to be ready and able". Evening Standard. Retrieved 4 September 2011. 
  31. ^ "Preston 3–1 Watford". BBC Sport. 7 May 2011. Retrieved 4 September 2011. 
  32. ^ "Watford: 2010/11 player appearances". Soccerbase. Retrieved 4 September 2011. 
  33. ^ Smith, Frank (11 March 2011). "Martin Taylor delighted with Watford manager's contract extension". Watford Observer. Retrieved 4 September 2011. 
  34. ^ Matthews, Anthony (30 April 2011). "Danny Graham is Player of the Season". Watford Observer. Retrieved 4 September 2011. 
  35. ^ "Hammers romp to Forest win as Hornets snatch point". ESPN. 28 August 2011. Retrieved 4 September 2011. 
  36. ^ "Games played by Martin Taylor in 2011/2012". Soccerbase. Retrieved 4 September 2011. 

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