Former Luton defender Taylor named Shrews boss as ex-Hatter Shaw heads to Spartans

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Managerial role for ex-Luton academy graduate

Former Luton defender Matt Taylor has been appointed as head coach of League One side Shrewsbury Town.

The 41-year-old came through the ranks at Kenilworth Road, making 147 appearances and scoring 17 goals for the Hatters between 1999-2002, then moving on to Portsmouth.

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He went on to have spells at Bolton Wanderers, West Ham United, Burnley, Northampton Town and Swindon Town, playing the majority of his career in the Premier League, before retiring at the end of the 2018-19 campaign.

Taylor had a brief spell as Swindon interim manager, switching to a role on the coaching staff at Tottenham Hotspur, before being named Walsall manager in May 2021, but was sacked in February 2022 after losing seven games in a row.

He is now back in work though, taking over at the Montgomery Waters Meadow, as speaking to the Shrews official website, the ex-Hatter said: “I’m delighted.

“I think when you come to the stadium, when you look at the infrastructure behind the football club – there is nothing (I feel) other than a burning desire and excitement.

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“I’m very aware the football club has a successful playing style – something that has worked when you look at the finish last season, so there is a lot that is going right at the football club.

Former Luton defender Matt Taylor during his time as Walsall manager - pic: Pete Norton/Getty ImagesFormer Luton defender Matt Taylor during his time as Walsall manager - pic: Pete Norton/Getty Images
Former Luton defender Matt Taylor during his time as Walsall manager - pic: Pete Norton/Getty Images

"What do I want to bring? I hope to allow the players to really express themselves.

"There are some exceptional footballers here and part of my role is to give them a platform and a structure so they can go and express themselves and entertain our loyal supporters.

“If I look back at my career and what made me successful – it was hard work and energy.

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“The things that are non-negotiable for me will be that the players have to give everything whenever they put the shirt on. That’s the least the fans deserve.

“I think you accept mistakes as a football fan, I do when I watch it.

“But what is imperative is that every time a player goes onto the pitch wearing a Shrewsbury Town shirt – they have to go and give everything they have got.

"That is a minimum requirement and I’m sure the players will do that.

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“I think what’s important now is that everyone understands just how hungry I am for this opportunity.”

Director of football Micky Moore added: "We interviewed five and then we got down to the last two and Matt fit the criteria we set out right at the very beginning.

"I think from the moment I walked in, from what I've said I said our head coach will look like, Matty fitted that script and I'm very excited to have him on board."

Meanwhile, former Luton forward Jon Shaw has become player/assistant manager at National League North side Blyth Spartans.

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The 39-year-old, who played for Sheffield Wednesday, Burton Albion and Halifax Town, moved to Kenilworth Road from Gateshead in 2012, scoring 10 goals in 51 appearances for the Hatters, leaving two years later to rejoin the Heed.

He also featured for South Shields and Dunston UTS, but now has moved to Croft Park where another ex-Town player, JJ O’Donnell currently resides.

Spartans boss Graham Fenton, who named Shaw as captain and assistant manager when in charge of South Shields said: “I look forward to working with Jon again.

“He’s going to be available to play too, but it’s been made clear that he will be heavily supporting our centre backs.

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"If we need him at the end of games to go a little bit more defensive, or if we pick up any injuries he will be ready as he looks after himself very well and he’s in the correct head space.”

Speaking to BSAFCTV, Shaw added: “Me and Graham have very similar thoughts on how we believe the game should be played, also the efforts, standards and behaviours of the lads so as soon as he asked me the question I don’t think I was ever going to turn him down.

“Graham’s got high standards, and I’ll try and help him as best as possible to implement those within the team.

“Blyth itself, it’s a club I obviously know a lot about, being up here in the North East for over 10 years now, playing for Gateshead and being around the area.

"So the two together has presented a fantastic opportunity for myself.”