No sooner had the WSL season been brought to a close, Manchester City Women confirmed the appointment of Gareth Taylor as their new manager.
The 47-year-old takes over after former boss Nick Cushing left his post in February to become assistant manager at Manchester City franchise New York City. Cushing’s assistant boss Alan Mahon had been in temporary charge before the coronavirus outbreak halted proceedings.
Here’s everything you need to know about the new Citizens boss.
City were linked with USA’s two-time World Cup winning coach Jill Ellis when Cushing announced his departure, but they have stuck to their tried and tested formula with the appointment of Taylor – it is not dissimilar to when they hired Cushing in the first place.
Cushing joined City in 2008, working in the club’s academy prior to being handed the reins to the women’s team in 2013. Similarly, Taylor is an internal appointment, having been part of the City coaching set up since 2011.
In that time, he has overseen the club’s youth program in Dubai, before becoming under 16 coach in 2012. He has spent the last three seasons coaching the City under 18 side.
Cushing went on to enjoy huge success with City, winning six major trophies in six years and creating a clear identity with the trust he put in youngsters. The club appear to have gone in a similar direction with the appointment of Taylor.
Taylor will be a familiar face to those who regularly tuned into the Championship on ITV in the noughties (Matt Smith, Robbie Earl, soundtracked by U2’s Beautiful Day – remember?)
The guy is real Football League stalwart, having played for no fewer than 12 Championship and League One sides during a playing career that spanned two decades.
The striker began his career at Bristol Rovers, and went on to play for the likes of Crystal Palace, Burnley and Sheffield United. He hung up his boots in 2011 while at Conference side Wrexham.
Taylor’s coaching career is the first time he has really found some peace and quiet. During his playing days, he could not sit still.
In his 20-year career, Taylor never stayed at any club for longer than three years. His most prolific spell of his career came at Burnley, where he comfortably hit double figures in successive seasons, tempting Nottingham Forest to part with £500,000 to secure his signature.
Taylor’s three years at the City Ground remain a personal best, and he left at the end of his contract in 2006 to join Tranmere Rovers.
Taylor played for Man City before it was cool.
There was no fancy UAE owner, no Amazon Prime documentary and certainly no Pep Guardiola. There wasn’t even an Etihad Stadium.
Taylor was at Man City between 1998 and 2001 during the glory days of Maine Road and Jimmy Grimble, helping the side secure promotion from the Second Division during his first season at the club.
He played more of a bit part during City’s promotion to the Premier League the following season, with spells on loan at Port Vale and QPR.
Taylor never played a top flight game for City, and left the club for Burnley in 2001
Taylor played for Wales before it was cool.
There was no Gareth Bale, no Manic Street Preachers song and no Don’t Take Me Home documentary when Taylor was representing his country.
He earned 15 Wales caps between 1995 and 2004, scoring once against Scotland in 2004.
The Manchester City Women’s job will be Taylor’s first foray into senior management, and it will also be the first time that Taylor has worked in women’s football.
Once again, this is the exact position Cushing was in when he took the hot seat seven years ago. Cushing did not experience immediate success, with a fifth place finish (out of eight) in his first season in charge – however he had also been tasked with building a side from scratch.
City have a history of being patient with managers of the women’s team – but also have one of the strongest sides and set ups in the women’s game. It will be interesting to see whether Taylor is expected to hit the ground running, or if the club have a transition period in mind.