Issue The Taylors

As told by Michael Wood

Peter Taylor spent his Saturday afternoon watching Blackpool beat Cardiff to secure promotion to the Premier League for Sky TV and while the City manager is better at his day job than the post-modern wonder that is Soccer Saturday’s meta-football – watching people watching a game – the Bantams gaffer will have taken note of the rise of the seasiders.

Blackpool – the team of Directions to Wembley – have earned the crack at the Premier League which clubs like Bradford City, Burnley and Barnsley have had before and save the reservation about a curious afternoon at VP a few years ago when both Robbie Williams and Claus Jorgensen thought they had been sent off only for City’s Steven Schumacher to take the first use of the soap one wishes them well.

A look down the Tangerine squad shows few names which will be known to those who are buying 2010/11 Panini stickers but Ben Burgess had a brush with the Bantams some time ago and Brett Ormerod played for Park Avenue. Charlie Adam has obvious quality and is known to many, one name that does stick out is Gary Taylor-Fletcher.

Taylor-Fletcher score a close range headed goal at Wembley which will be – to date – the highlight of a career that has taken him to Huddersfield Town and Lincoln City as well as a couple of loans at Dag & Red. As much as Steven Gerrard or Wayne Rooney though he is a Premier League player.

This is a lesson often forgotten by football managers. Many of the players who people teams like Blackpool, Burnley and City were what would be considered journeymen but with the coaching in place, with mental belief and some strong characters then a player like Taylor-Fletcher can go from Huddersfield to The Premier League in the space of three years.

Has Taylor-Fletcher become a better player? Perhaps but Blackpool would have many of the squad who had improved if that is the case. Probably it is more correct to say that Ian Holloway has crafted a team to be more than the sum of parts such as Taylor-Fletcher.

The majority of managers – for many and varied reasons – are not able to create a team like that – Paul Jewell did it at City, certainly did not at Sheffield Wednesday – but as he spends a summer recruiting and signing up people for the City squad Peter Taylor will aim to do the same with the Bantams.

For if the past three years has had an object lesson it is that squads, not signings, make for successful teams.