Peter Taylor was appointed the first team manager at Hull City in October 2002, succeeding Jan Molby and quickly becoming one of the most crucial appointments of chairman Adam Pearson’s tenure. Days before his first match in charge City played a home match against Rochdale and Taylor strode onto the pitch before kick-off, shook his fist at the four corners of Boothferry Park and whipped the fans into a frenzy that triggered an inevitable 3-0 victory. Alas, when Taylor formally took over the reins his impact on the Tigers was not immediately quite so impressive – he inherited a squad from Jan Molby that had talent but had been demoralised by the shouty Dane, and Taylor had to take his time to rebuild player confidence.
A mid-table finish at the end of the 2002/03 season steadied the ship and during the 2003 close season Taylor and Pearson got to work building a new squad – talented players such as Danny Allsopp, Jason Price, Andy Dawson and Boaz Myhill signed for the Tigers, later joined by Taylor’s go-to midfield presence Junior Lewis. The Tigers spent most of the season in the top two and achieved some magnificent statement wins – an opening day thrashing of Darlington in intense heat, a 6-1 hammering of Kidderminster Harriers that laid to rest the ghost of his predecessor, a 5-1 steamrollering of Northampton Town at their Sixfields home, a season-defining 4-2 victory over promotion rivals Oxford United that proved one in the eye for their opinion-laden manager Ian Atkins (just over five years later Oxford were languishing in the Conference and City were in the Premier League – what an era-defining result that proved to be). By April 2004 City were on the verge of sealing their first promotion in nineteen years, Brian Horton’s triumphal 1984/85 Division Three campaign, but three consecutive draws meant the finishing line kept lurching just out of reach. On May Day 2004 the Tigers took on Yeovil Town at their Somerset home, and a huish swept over the home fans’ end when Ian Ashbee smote a twenty yard curler into the Glovers’ goal and secure a 2-1 victory and mathematical confirmation of promotion.
City were elevated to the third tier, rebranded League One, and the leap in standard seemed impossible to breach for success-starved City fans. But chairman Pearson had other ideas and his generous transfer kitty again came to the fore, no more so than when the Tigers secured the services of Hull-born former England international superstar Nicky Barmby – a genuinely remarkable signing for a third tier side on a par with Raich Carter’s signing of Neil Franklin signing fifty-two years previously. Taylor’s side continued its destructive momentum and went top of the table in early January 2005 after beating Stockport County 3-1 and completing a run of eight consecutive league victories. The fine form continued with another fine run of five wins in late February and early March – promotion was sealed with a mid-April 0-0 draw against Swindon, with three league matches still left to play.
Taylor consolidated the Tigers in the Championship during the 2005/06 season, flirting briefly with relegation before one defeat in the last nine matches saw City ease away from the bottom three to finish 18th. The club signed numerous players, some of which had the quality of Keith Andrews, John Welsh and Jon Parkin, others less so. In the 2006 close season it became apparent that Taylor’s former club Crystal Palace had approached him to be their manager, and in June 2006 he left the Tigers having transformed an expensively assembled fourth tier squad, bereft of confidence, into a Championship squad ready to plot a course towards the Premier League (though that didn’t happen straight away). For these achievements, Peter Taylor is one of the club’s most important managers in its history, bringing success and excitement to fans that had been starved of both for so many years.
From 2004 until he left the club in 2006 Taylor combined his managerial post at Hull City with a part-time role as England Under-21 manager, a role he eventually vacated in 2007 when England’s hierarchy insisted it became a full-time role.
Peter John Taylor was born in Rochford, a town on the fringes of Southend on Sea in Essex. Taylor played junior football for Canvey Island before joining Division Four side Southend United as an apprentice in 1969, turning professional in January 1971. His promise as a pacy winger led to a first team debut for the Shrimpers against Barrow in November 1970 and he scored his first senior goal against Brentford in March 1971. By the latter half of the 1971/72 Taylor was a first team regular at Roots Hall as Southend won promotion to Division Three, he kept his place for a further year and a half and by October 1973 had scored 13 goals in 78 appearances.
Taylor joined Division Two strugglers Crystal Palace in October 1973 for a £100,000 fee and went straight into the Glazers’ first team, but his six goals were not enough to help Palace avoid relegation to Division Three in May 1974. For the next two seasons Palace challenged at the top end of the Division Three table and Taylor was their star performer, netting 15 goals in the 1974/75 season and 16 the following term. In October 1974 Taylor was called up to England’s Under-23 side and over the next 13 months he made four Under-23 appearances, scoring in all four matches. This form led to a call-up to the England senior squad, a rare occurrence for a Division Three player, and he won four caps in March and May 1976 against Wales (against whom he scored a debut goal), Wales again (scoring his second and final England goal), Northern Ireland and Scotland. By September 1976 Taylor had scored 39 goals in 142 appearances for Crystal Palace.
In September 1976 Taylor transferred to Division One side Tottenham Hotspur, a fee of £400,000 being paid. He was a regular first team starter for three seasons as Spurs dropped into Division Two at the end of 1976/77 season, only to bounce straight back a year later. Taylor was a less regular figure in the Spurs first team during the 1979/80 season and left the club in November 1980 – he scored 33 goals in 137 appearances. Moving on to Division Two side Leyton Orient in November 1980 for a £150,000 fee, Taylor spent three seasons at Brisbane Road but became a peripheral figure after the 1980/81 season – he scored 12 goals in 68 appearances for the Os before joining Division Two side Oldham Athletic on loan in January 1983, making four appearances. Taylor started the 1983/84 season at Maidstone United but returned to the Football League briefly in October 1983, signing a short term deal and making ten appearances for Division Three side Exeter City, a side managed by his former England teammate Gerry Francis. Later in the 1983/84 season Peter returned to Maidstone United and over the next two years also played for Chelmsford City before he was appointed player-manager at Southern League side Dartford in May 1986. This commenced a long and decorated managerial career on the club and international stages.
Taylor piloted Dartford to four consecutive top four finishes in the Southern League and also twice reached the FA Trophy semi-finals. He moved on to Conference National side Enfield for the 1990/91 season and in August 1993 was appointed manager at Southend United, his first professional club. He led the Shrimpers for 66 matches until he was dismissed in February 1995 after a poor run of form. After managing Conference National side Dover Athletic during the 1995/96 season, Taylor was appointed England Under-21 manager in July 1996 by his former Tottenham teammate Glenn Hoddle. Taylor performed that role for three years with some success before being edged out by Howard Wilkinson in 1999.
Taylor was appointed manager at League Division 2 side Gillingham in July 1999 and in his first season at Priestfield he led the Gills for 62 matches, achieving promotion to the second tier and reaching the FA Cup quarter finals, dismissing top flight sides Bradford City and Sheffield Wednesday before losing heavily to Chelsea in the Sixth Round. Taylor’s side was fuelled by the goals of Bob Taylor and the midfield promptings of Junior Lewis, a player associated with Taylor for many years to come. In June 2000 Taylor was appointed manager at Premier League side Leicester City but after an excellent first few weeks his tenure was not a success, lasting only fifteen months and 54 matches before his dismissal in September 2001. In November 2000 he was asked to perform a caretaker role as England manager for a match against Italy, handing David Beckham the role of England captain.
Within two weeks of leaving Leicester City Taylor was appointed manager at League Division 2 side Brighton & Hove Albion and guided the Seagulls to the League title at the end of the 2001/02 season. Despite this success Taylor left Brighton during the 2002 close season, citing an inadequate playing budget and frustration at the lack of progress in constructing a new stadium to replace the modestly proportioned Falmer Stadium. He had been out of frontline work for four months when he took the role at Hull City in October 2002.
Taylor resigned his post at Hull City in June 2006 to take over the reins at Championship side Crystal Palace, citing this as his dream job. But it was a move that turned sour and he was sacked in October 2007 after 60 matches in charge. He led Conference National side Stevenage Borough between November 2007 and April 2008, then returned to League football in May 2008 when he was appointed manager at League Two side Wycombe Wanderers. In his first season at Adams Park he led the Chairboys to promotion to the third tier, but after just one win in eleven matches at the start of the 2009/10 season Taylor was dismissed in October 2009 – he led Wycombe for 63 matches. In February 2010 he took over at League Two side Bradford City but left the Bantams a year later after 54 matches in charge, a month after turning down the chance to become assistant manager at Premier League side Newcastle United.
Taylor then completed his managerial career with another twelve years of peripatetic employment. Between July 2011 and October 2012 he managed the Bahrain international side, then returned to England to manage England’s Under-20 side between March and May 2013. He managed Gillingham a second time between October 2013 and December 2014, this time leading the Gills for 67 matches. Between May and October 2015 he was manager at India Premier League side Kerala Blasters, then during the 2016/17 season he was appointed assistant manager for the New Zealand national team to look after the nation’s UK-based players. Between May and October 2017 he was director of football at Gillingham and led the first team for a third time in a caretaker capacity during September 2017, a spell of just five matches. Between June 2018 and December 2019 Peter managed Conference National side Dagenham & Redbridge, then had a short spell as manager at National League South side Welling United between September 2021 and March 2022. Between December 2022 and August 2023 Taylor was manager at Isthmian League side Maldon & Tiptree, bringing his 54 year career in football to an end at the age of 70.
Date/Place of Birth: 3 January 1953, Rochford, England
Appointed by Hull City: 14 October 2002; 49 years, 284 days old
Left Hull City: 29 June 2006; 53 years, 177 days old
Tenure: 1,354 days
Dartford (1986-1990), Enfield (1990-1991), Southend United (1993-1995), Dover Athletic (1995-1996), Gillingham (1999-2000), Leicester City (2000-2001), Brighton & Hove Albion (2001-2002), Hull City (2002-2006), Crystal Palace (2006-2007), Stevenage Borough (2007-2008), Wycombe Wanderers (2008-2009), Bradford City (2010-2011), Gillingham (2013-2014), Kerala Blasters (2015), Gillingham (2017), Dagenham & Redbridge (2018-2019), Welling United (2021-2022), Maldon & Tiptree (2022-2023)
England Under-21 (1996-1999), England (2000, caretaker role), England Under-21 (2004-2007), Bahrain (2011-2012), England Under-20 (2013)
Hull City Record
Playing Record: Played 184, Won 77, Drawn 50, Lost 57, Goals For 271, Goals Against 216
Achievements: 2nd in League Division 3, 2003/04 season; 2nd in League One, 2004/05 season; 18th in Championship, 2005/06 season