Ex-Hatter Taylor takes his first managerial role at Walsall

Former Town defender named head coach of the Sadlers

Former Hatter Matthew Taylor on his last visit to Kenilworth Road as a Swindon player in September 2017
Former Hatter Matthew Taylor on his last visit to Kenilworth Road as a Swindon player in September 2017

Former Luton defender Matthew Taylor has taken his first steps into management after being appointed Walsall head coach.

The 39-year-old began his playing career with the Hatters, coming through the ranks at Kenilworth Road, going on to make 147 appearances, scoring 17 goals between 1999-2002, until heading to Portsmouth.

Taylor went on to ply his trade in the Premier League with spells at Bolton Wanderers, West Ham United and Burnley, while also featuring for Northampton Town and Swindon Town, retiring at the end of the 2018-19 season.

The former England U21 international had a brief spell as Swindon interim manager, but has most recently been part of the coaching staff at Tottenham Hotspur, concentrating on the performance of Spurs’ young talent.

Taylor, who has his UEFA Pro License, will take up official duties on June 1, but speaking to the Sadlers' official website about the challenge, said: "I’m very happy to join the club.

"As with a lot of things in football, they move fast and this is no exception.

“I’m extremely honoured to be given the opportunity to be Head Coach of Walsall and I’m really excited.

"In football and life, a lot of it is about timing and in my opinion it’s very good timing.

“The club, the owner and the Technical Director want the opportunity to bring success back to Walsall Football Club and I hope I can be part of that.

“Winning football matches is never easy but what I’ve learnt in the last two years gives me an opportunity to build a style of play that the fans resonate with and enjoy watching, with the aim of delivering positive results on the pitch.

“It’s about building an identity of what we are and that the football team on the pitch replicates this on the pitch.

"One thing I can guarantee to all the supporters is their team will always give 100 per cent on the pitch because as a player, I was always that way and as a coach, I’m always that way and therefore I expect the players to reflect that.”

Chairman Leigh Pomlett added: "Matthew is young, ambitious and successful and I am delighted that we have been able to attract him to leave Tottenham Hotspur to become our Head Coach.

“I have spent a number of hours talking with Matt in recent days and he meets the profile of the Head Coach I am seeking for Walsall Football Club.

“Coupled with Neil McDonald and working closely with Jamie Fullarton, we now have the right set up to drive the Walsall football agenda forward.

"I do not want more of the same and I am looking for a significant shake up of the club and believe this is the right team to do it.

"I welcome Matthew to the club and look forward to his impact.”