Matthew Taylor is an English professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for League One club Northampton Town. He has previously played for Luton Town, Portsmouth, Bolton Wanderers, West Ham United and Burnley. Taylor was born in Oxford, Oxfordshire. He began his career at Luton Town, making his debut as a 17-year-old at the beginning of the 1999–2000 season. He soon made the left wing-back slot his own and won the Young Player of the Season award in his first ever season as a professional, before he won the Player of the Season award in 2000–01. His success at Luton came after an initial trial at his local side, Oxford United.
His displays led to interest from Premier League clubs, but he instead decided, in July 2002, to sign for First Division team Portsmouth for £750,000. The fee was set averting the need for a tribunal. Usually playing as a left wing-back in a 3–5–2 formation, his speedy breaks down the left flank in support of the attack were a feature of Portsmouth‘s play as they won the First Division title in May 2003. As well as being a regular in the team during the season, he also scored seven goals in the League.
An injury picked up in the later stages of the previous season meant that Taylor was unavailable for the start of Portsmouth‘s first Premiership season. After returning to fitness, Taylor struggled to win his place in the side back due to the side’s good early season form and Harry Redknapp‘s switch to the 4–4–2 formation. Taylor eventually won a place in the Pompey team at left back, where he was a regular in the second half of the 2003–04 season and appeared to be regaining form. Despite failing to score a league goal in his Premiership debut season, Taylor did hit the equaliser in an FA Cup tie at Anfield on 15 February 2004, when he ran the length of the pitch to celebrate with the supporters after a forceful right-footed finish at the Kop End.
Despite failing to score a league goal in his Premiership debut season, Taylor did hit the equaliser in an FA Cup tie at Anfield on 15 February 2004, when he ran the length of the pitch to celebrate with the supporters after a forceful right-footed finish at the Kop End. Taylor’s first Premiership goal came against Middlesbrough on 1 February 2005. The summer signing of David Unsworth from Everton meant Taylor only became a regular in the side in the second half of the season.
New manager Alain Perrin utilised Taylor as a left midfielder during the 2005–06 season. On 29 October 2005, he scored from 40 yards at Sunderland‘s Stadium of Light, winning the BBC Goal of the Month. Spotting the goalkeeper Kelvin Davis off his line, Taylor hit a dipping left-footed half-volley over Davis’ head and into the back of the net. Portsmouth had been trailing Sunderland 1–0 in the crucial “six pointer” but Taylor inspired a second half comeback with two goals and two assists in a 4–1 victory. When Harry Redknapp returned, Taylor initially retained his attacking role but the arrival of Andrés D’Alessandro on loan and Redknapp’s disapproval of Perrin’s left-back, Grégory Vignal, meant that Taylor returned to full-back for the latter stages of the season. 2005–06 could be considered Taylor’s breakthrough season as a Premiership footballer. In all he played 34 league games, scoring six goals. Two of these were crucial penalties; one in the last minute against Sunderland to secure a 2–1 win, and another in an away game at Wigan Athletic on 29 April 2006 to clinch another 2–1 win and survival from relegation.
In all he played 34 league games, scoring six goals. Two of these were crucial penalties; one in the last minute against Sunderland to secure a 2–1 win, and another in an away game at Wigan Athletic on 29 April 2006 to clinch another 2–1 win and survival from relegation.
His good form for Portsmouth attracted interest from Tottenham Hotspur and Fulham, but he signed a long-term contract with Portsmouth in July 2006. In the 2006–07 season, Taylor was a regular in the Portsmouth side on the left of midfield. Despite the team’s good form, it took until early December for him to score his first league goal, in a game against Aston Villa. He then added a second from the penalty spot in the same match before going on to score spectacular volleys in the next two games against Everton and Arsenal.
His first-half goal against Manchester United at Fratton Park in April 2007 sent Portsmouth on their way to a 2–1 victory over the Premier League champions. His final goal for Portsmouth was a penalty kick in August 2007, in a 3–1 win over Bolton Wanderers, the club he moved to five months later.
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