Manager profile

Phil Taylor

Birthdate: 18 September 1917
Birthplace: Bristol, England
Other clubs as manager: None
Arrived from: Local
Signed for LFC: 15 May 1956
First game in charge: 18.08.1956
Contract Expiry: 17.11.1959
LFC league games as manager: 143
Total LFC games as manager: 150
Honours:

Manager profile

Phil Taylor is mainly known as the only Liverpool boss never to manage the club in the First Division. Taylor had been connected with Liverpool Football Club for over 20 years when he was asked to succeed Don Welsh at the end of the 1955-56 season. Born in Bristol, he had been a schoolboy international for England before playing for one of his home-town clubs (Rovers) as first an amateur and later a professional. He was signed by Liverpool in March 1936 for £5,000, which was not an insignificant sum for an 18 year old at the time.

Already a first-team regular when barely out of his teens, Phil’s professional playing career was cut short by the Second World War as it was for many of his contemporaries. But while many of his colleagues were too old to play again when the war was over, Phil was relatively young at 27 with many good playing years still in front of him. His best period was immediately after the war when he won a championship winners’ medal (1947) and played in an FA Cup final (1950). His three full England caps came in 1947 as well. He was a solid and reliable half-back and a natural choice to replace Jack Balmer as club captain.

Good players though do not necessarily make good managers. Phil had two years on the coaching staff at Liverpool before being invited to take over the role of manager but this was a completely different responsibility. Sometimes people are ‘too nice to be a manager’, the suggestion being that you need a bit of a ruthless streak in you because it is such a risky and competitive business. Maybe not so much in the 1950’s as in more modern times but perhaps this applied to Phil? Perhaps he found it difficult being remote from players he had been on the same level with just a short time earlier? Whatever the reasons, Phil found the pressure of getting Liverpool back into the top division almost intolerable.

He immediately entered the transfer market and brought in goalkeeper Tommy Younger and inside forward Johnny Wheeler, who was moved to midfield soon after his arrival. A 3rd place finish in 1957 followed by a 4th place finish in 1958 might have been satisfactory enough at some other clubs but not at Liverpool where a new chairman appointed in 1956 Tom (T.V.) Williams had ambitions that certainly surpassed some of his predecessors. Although Taylor hung on until November 17, 1959 one suspects that a terrible F.A. cup defeat to non-League Worcester City earlier in the same year hastened his departure from the manager’s seat.

Taylor admitted that "the strain of trying to win promotion has proved too much." After a superb 23 years at the club a sorrowful Phil Taylor spoke to the Liverpool Daily Post about his decision: "No matter how great has been the disappointment of the Directors at our failure to win our way back to the first division, it has not been greater then mine. I made it my goal. I set my heart on it and strove for it with all the energy I could muster. Such striving has not been enough and now the time has come to hand over to someone else to see if they can do better."

He later reflected on his time as manager in Alan A'Court's autobiography published in 2003, "My Life in Football": Looking back, one of the biggest differences with today was the position of the manager. At that time, teams at almost all clubs were picked by the board of directors, though they usually did ask the advice of the secretary or coach. I know both Don Welsh and myself had to present our teams to full board meetings, often involving eight or nine directors. If you had been winning, the directors were unlikely to object to your team, but it was much harder when you wanted to make changes, and I can remember times when the side that ran out was not really the one I had wanted to play. I was probably not a strong enough personality to be a good manager, because you really need to insist on being in charge if you are going to be successful."

Phil Taylor took a complete break from football and became a sales representative for a while. It was a shame things hadn’t worked out for him as Liverpool manager but being the manager of the same club where you have been such a successful player will always be a hard act to follow. The act that would follow Phil though would change the fortunes of Liverpool Football Club for ever.

Statistics

CompetitionTotalWonDrawLostGoals forGoals against
Grand totals150763242294211
League143733139283201
FA Cup73131110
League Cup000000
Europe000000
Other000000

Matches that are won or lost in a penalty shoot-out are counted as a win/loss not as a draw.

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Related Quotes

"No matter how great has been the disappointment of the Directors at our failure to win our way back to the first division, it has not been greater then mine. I made it my goal. I set my heart on it and strove for it with all the energy I could muster. Such striving has not been enough and now the time has come to hand over to someone else to see if they can do better."

After a superb 23 years at LFC Phil Taylor spoke to the Liverpool Daily Post about his decision to quit

"Full respect to Phil Taylor. Definitely one of our great players of all-time. And the lovely thing about it is that he still comes to the games even now. I don't know whether he's been to every game but he must have been to as many games as probably anybody around I would think – you know, between playing, managing and watching."

Liverpool FC museum curator Stephen Done in the summer of 2006 on Phil Taylor when he was chosen in the top 100 of Players who shook the Kop

Players bought

PlayerClubFeeDate
Tommy Younger Hibernian £9,000 16 June 1956
Johnny Wheeler Bolton Wanderers £9,000 7 September 1956
Tony McNamara Everton £4,000 13 December 1957
Jimmy Harrower Hibernian £11,000 3 January 1958
Fred Morris Mansfield Town £7,000 1 May 1958
Roger Hunt Stockton Heath Free 29 July 1958
Desmond Palmer Swansea City £14,000 * 4 March 1959
Bert Slater Falkirk Player Exchange * 12 June 1959
Dave Hickson Everton £12,000 6 November 1959

Players sold

PlayerClubFeeDate
Dave Underwood Watford £1,250 July 1956
Alex South Halifax Town £2,500 October 1956
Fred Perry Sittingbourne Free January 1957
John Price Aston Villa £0 March 1957
Eric Anderson Barnsley £4,000 July 1957
John Evans Colchester Free 21 November 1957
Keith Burkinshaw Workington £2,500 December 1957
Tom McNulty Hyde United Free 1958
Tony Rowley Tranmere Rovers £3,500 15 March 1958
Joe Dickson Oxford United Free April 1958
Don Campbell Crewe £4,000 July 1958
Brian Jackson Port Vale £3,000 July 1958
Tony McNamara Crewe Unknown July 1958
Roy Saunders Swansea City Player Exchange * March 1959
Tommy Younger Falkirk Player Exchange * 12 June 1959
Bobby Murdoch Barrow £0 2 September 1959
Louis Bimpson Blackburn Rovers Unknown 19 November 1959

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