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Doncaster Features: Brian Taylor, a Rovers barbers profile!

John BRIAN Taylor was born in Doncaster on 7th October 1931 and signed professional forms for Rovers in March 1949, having previously been an amateur with Sheffield Wednesday. Rovers' first choice 'keeper was the great Ken Hardwick and his deputy was Pat Gillespie, a player who (like Fred Potter of later years) could also play outfield. In the 1949-50 season, when Rovers won the
Third Divison (North) championship under Peter Doherty, Hardwick was an ever-present. In July 1950 Rovers signed Alan Wakeman from Aston Villa to be No.2 to Hardwick, and it may have been around this time that Taylor left the club. He signed for Midland League side Worksop Town.

In May 1951 he joined Leeds United, like Rovers members of Division Two, and in season 1951-2 he made 11 League appearances. He left Leeds some time after that season and played for King's Lynn before signing for Bradford Park Avenue in June 1954. Over the next two seasons he appears to have been Avenue's first choice goalie, making 66 League appearances for the club.

(with thanks to John Coyle)


Major Frank Buckley knew the new season was going to be challenging for Leeds United. They had just finished 5th in Division Two, but for the first half of 1951-52, his star defender John Charles was due to be away on National Service. The good showing in the previous year had not fooled him and he sought to add to his squad by combing non-League football for new players. Leeds' financial position meant that he had little money to buy ready made stars and had to either shop in football's bargain basement and hope to unearth gems, or sell one of his established stars if he wanted to pay out big money.

During the spring and summer he had enlisted a number of players from junior football, goalkeeper Brian Taylor, forwards Bobby Webb, Ron Barritt, John Finlay and Billy Hudson and half back Archie Gibson. However, when he forked out £12,000 for Cardiff's popular midfield player Don Mills in September, he had to balance the books by offloading proven goalscorer Len Browning to Sheffield United for the same sum in November. Browning had been the club's top scorer in 1949 and 1951 and he was sorely missed. The chosen replacement was Frank Fidler, who had previously hit 179 goals for non League Witton Albion after the war and had then moved on to Wrexham. He was rushed into the side on October 27, 12 hours after arriving at the club.

The financial constraints were a severe frustration for Buckley, but he coped well in the circumstances, although his mood was not helped by Leeds' early performances. Their first two games were both 1-1 draws, against Birmingham and Brentford and for the third match, Buckley dropped Browning who had by now been transfer listed. He tried Barritt up front for a couple of games, but wasn't impressed. Leeds lost 2-0 at Doncaster and then drew at home with Birmingham. He had been forced to call goalkeeper Taylor back from National Service to replace the injured John Scott after the first game and was also now without Ernie Stevenson up front. He tried centre half Roy Kirk as his No 9 in the next game, a 2-1 home defeat by Everton, but then brought back Browning as he had little choice.

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