What an icon Gary Taylor-Fletcher was for all us normal folk.
You know those players that stick in your mind for no reason at all? The cult heroes who pass through the Premier League, have their moment and then move on. We dare say, the league would be nothing without these mavericks. The temporary entertainers who encourage the kind of conversation that typically starts with ‘do you remember…’ then descends into an hour-long regurgitation of memories you did not even know existed. Well, Gary Taylor-Fletcher is one of those nostalgia nuggets for us.
With all due respect, when we looked at Gary Taylor-Fletcher we did not immediately think ‘Premier League player’. He was not the typically athletic sportsman we had come to expect from the English topflight, nor was he as elegant; he looked like a Sunday league player – whatever that means, played like one too, for the most part (a good one). But he was relatable.
We all saw a bit of us in him, and that is why we respected him so.
Is it a coincidence that Blackpool enjoyed some of their most fruitful years whilst mercurial talent Gary-Taylor Fletcher was kicking about? We think not. The Liverpool-born forward graced the Tangerines between 2007 and 2013 making 234 special appearances. His tally of 37 goals and 37 assists may not have looked all that special, we admit, but these statistics only tell half the story. They fail to detail his goal in the 2010 play-off final to send Blackpool through to the Premier League, or the opener in Blackpool’s shock victory over Liverpool, or even his cheeky little finish to put his side ahead at Old Trafford on the final day of the season when they desperately needed three points for survival (they lost). All very special stuff.
Following his departure, he tried his hand with Leicester City, Sheffield Wednesday and Millwall shortly after, however never really reached the same dizzying heights of his former self.
After a brief spell with Accrington Stanley, Gary Taylor-Fletcher took himself off to Wales to player-manage Bangor City. The former Blackpool man guided his side to Europa League qualification in 2017 after beating Cardiff Metropolitan University in the playoffs. Yes, that is right – a team consisting entirely of students. Sadly they lost to Superligaen side Lyngby in the next round.
The Englishman now plays for Llandudno FC and has scored three goals in two league games. What a player.
Blackpool fans, what are some of your standout memories of Gary Taylor-Fletcher? Let us know below…
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