such professional is Bob Taylor or 'Super Bob' as he's known worldwide
to Baggies fans, and the club which he holds a special place in
his heart for is West Bromwich Albion.
In this interview, we follow Super Bob through his career, from
his first spell at West Brom to his move to the Premiership, back
again to West Brom and now to his current club, Cheltenham Town.
"I first joined West Brom from Bristol City. To be fair I'd
been very successful at Bristol, scored about 50 goals and we got
promoted to the First Division.
"Things were going well, but the manager left and the new manager
brought in a few new faces - I dropped down the pecking order.
was living in Newcastle at the time, my mom had just died and I
had a six month old baby, so travelling for 5 hours a day was too
much. The manager came to me one day and said the club had accepted
an offer from West Brom for £300,000, which was a lot of money
"I didn't really want to go, but I spoke to Bobby Gould, the
manager as West Brom, and within a few days I'd signed for the club."
did not start that well for Bob at West Brom and within six months
of signing, Bobby Gould was sacked. The board of directors replaced
Gould with Argentinean legend Ozzie Ardilies.
"We all knew about Ozzie when he took over from Bobby. To be
honest I'd wondered what I'd got myself into.
" I'd played against Ozzie's teams before, so I knew the style
of play he used. The motto was 'if they score 4 then we'll score
"I was a little bit worried though, because I didn't know if
I'd be good enough to play in his team - but luckily enough everything
worked out fine, and in a football sense, he was the best manager
that I've played for."
a result of Ardilies' appointment, West Brom secured promotion via
the play-off final at Wembley in the 1993/94 season with a 3-0 win
over Port Vale.
that season, it was Bob who first got the nickname of 'Super' by
scoring 37 goals and building up a striking partnership with Andy
Hunt, who had signed from Newcastle.
The partnership lasted for the next few seasons.
"Me and Hunty hit it off straight away. Andy was a bit like
me, the fans liked him and he was level headed, but he never got
above his status.
"If one of us wasn't scoring then the other one was. We also
read each others game really well, which helped a lot. We never
worked on it either, we just clicked, the only time I can remember
us working on our game was when we used to do shooting practice
the Taylor and Hunt partnership blossomed, West Brom didn't and
struggled for the next few seasons. As a result, both Hunt and Taylor
left the First Division for the Premiership.
first, Bob was pessimistic about leaving but it turned out to be
one of the best decisions of his life.
Taylor playing for Bolton
was a lot of issues within the club. The manager wanted me to go
on loan - I didn't want to go. It was a major wrench to leave but,
in the end, I went out on loan to the Premiership to Bolton. I loved
it, I scored against Manchester United at Old Trafford, and against
the Villa at their place. I was living out my dreams."
"I played a few games for them, scored a few goals as well.
I was never going to win the F.A cup or anything like that, but
it's what you dream about as a kid."
signed permanently the next season for Bolton Wanderers, and played
over 80 games scoring 24 goals for the Trotters.
returned to his footballing home, the Hawthorns, on transfer deadline
day in 2000, on the same day as 4 other players. With West Brom
poised to be relegated, Taylor's 5 goals in 8 games kept the Baggies
safe from relegation.
Taylor in action
got a phone call asking me if I'd like to go back to West Brom and
I jumped at the chance. I didn't even think about it, my heart ruled
my head really.
"When we secured safety on the final game of the season against
Charlton it was a great day. To see the fans 'Boing-Boinging' again
was fabulous. I did an interview after the match and I said that
a club of the size of West Brom shouldn't be celebrating staying
in Division One."
in the Premier League
the next two seasons that followed, under manager Gary Megson, West
Brom finished in the play-offs and then got promoted automatically,
with Taylor scoring the goal against Crystal Palace that secured
promotion to the Premier League.
Unfortunately for Bob, he only played six games for the Baggies
in the Premier League.
"I'd have liked to have played more. I've played in the Premiership
before with Bolton but to play there with West Brom was special.
I'd worked hard for 10 years of my life to get there and to play
in the first game against Man United was special for me. My only
wish was if I could have got a goal for West Brom, which really
would have been the icing on the cake for me."
end to playing at West Brom
contract ran out at the end of that season - his testimonial year
- and the club decided not to renew his contract. Bob played his
last game for his beloved club on the last game of the season at
home to his home town club Newcastle United.
"There was a clip on the video of me walking off when I was
being subbed with tears in my eyes. It wasn't really that it was
to be my last game for the club, it was because my testimonial was
in 2 days time and I didn't know if I'd be fit, so I was really
left the club a true fans favourite, after playing over 300 games
for the Baggies. He signed for the manager who, ironically first
signed him for West Brom, Bobby Gould.
The proverb tells us, that lightning never strikes twice but unfortunately
it did for Bobby Gould, and he was sacked only weeks after Taylor
had arrived at Cheltenham.
signed for Cheltenham at the start of the season, after having
an operation on my knee in the summer. I'd only been here for
two months and Bobby got the sack, I think I must have the curse
signed for Cheltenham at the start of the season, after having an
operation on my knee in the summer. I'd only been here for two months
and Bobby got the sack, I think I must have the curse on him!"
Although Bobby Gould left the club, Taylor still feels that Cheltenham
can still have a good season.
"When I signed for the club we stood a good chance of bouncing
back up to Division Two, but the club released a lot of professionals
in the summer and there is a really young squad here now. When I
first came it was like training with the Albion again because of
all of the youngsters here, but hopefully we'll have a good season."
is undecided where he will go at the end of the season, and hasn't
ruled out retiring from football and going into coaching or even
fulfilling every Albion fans dream of once again returning to the
"I'm not looking beyond this season. I'm really going to struggle
with fitness because of my operation in the summer. But if I can
score a few goals and keep my fitness up then who knows. If my body
can take another pre-season then I'd definitely play on, but I don't
know how long my legs can take running after those 20 year olds!
I left West Brom the first time, I said I'd never go back, so I'm
never going to say never. I've got the 1st part of the UEFA (coaching)
badge, but I need to do the other part to complete it.
now for Bob Taylor?
like to work my way up, starting with coaching kids and then up
from there. Coaches need respect, and you only get that by working
your way up.
"I'd love to half believe that one day I'd return to West Brom.
It would be difficult though - I would hate to think that if I didn't
succeed that the club or the fans would turn against me."
Taylor is regarded as a West Brom legend, and in generations to
come, sons will ask their fathers, "Where were you when Super
Bob scored the goal which got us promoted?" One thing is for
sure though, if Bob Taylor were to return to the Hawthorns, the
fans certainly wouldn't turn against him!
Interview by Iain