Heads or Tayls?

Last updated : 15 January 2008 By Tom Vickers

Brian Little should be thanked when it comes to the success of Aston Villa legend Ian Taylor. Little's first opening of the claret and blue cheque book was in December 2004 when he brought the central midfielder to Villa Park. Taylor had previously had spells at non-league Moor Green, and league sides Port Vale and Sheffield Wednesday.

He was a pivotal figure in Little's side and his goal helped Villa to the 1996 Coca Cola Cup final win against Leeds United at Wembley where the Claret and Blue gained a comfortable 3-0 victory.

Villa enjoyed an impressive campaign in the UEFA Cup during the 1997/98 season where they eventually got knocked out at the Quarter-final stage against Atletico Madrid. Taylor was brilliant up until that stage and scored a couple of crucial goals.

Ian played an integral part in the last ever FA Cup final at Wembley which eventually concluded in a 1-0 defeat to Chelsea.

He was a real box-to-box midfielder with immense stamina and a hero to all Villa Fans.

The top notch midfielder then moved on to Pride Park and scored for Derby against his old team in a pre-season friendly. Instead of booing the goal, the Villa fans cheered as they showed their gratitude to the man affectionately known as 'Tayls'.

Taylor spent his Indian summer at Northampton Town where he suffered many injuries including a persistent cartilage problem.

After meeting the legend and grabbing a few words prior to the friendly against Birmingham City, he told how his rivalry with the men from St Andrews hadn't faded and he was eager for his team to beat them. Northampton fulfilled his hopes as they surprisingly triumphed 1-0.

He even attends each Villa fixture across the city, in the away end, showing his fantastic dedication to the cause and how loyal to the club he is. This deserves high acclaim because as all football fans know loyalty is a rare commodity in modern football.

On 23rd April 2007, Taylor announced his retirement from professional football. A multitude of Villa fans attended his last game against Huddersfield Town to say thank-you to their hero. He has gained cult status in the eyes of Villa fans and will go down in history as a man who played out a dream at his boyhood club.