This season we have been reflecting on 10 Years at Oteley Road - to celebrate this we will be bringing you an exclusive interview with a player from the last decade. Today it is Jon Taylor!
With over 140 appearances and 21 goals, Jon Taylor is statistically the most successful Academy graduate from the last decade.
The passionate winger who joined Town from today’s visitors as a 15-year-old became a firm fans favourite during his time at the Meadow.
It therefore comes as no surprise that he was voted for by 65% of Town fans as their favourite winger in the last 10 years.
On hearing the news, Jon admitted that it was huge honour to be thought of in that way.
“It’s overwhelming to be honest with you”, Taylor told Town Talk.
“I’ve always loved the club. I still speak to the staff now. It was my life. I had been there since I was 15 and my family loved it as much as I did.
“There weekend’s had been all about Shrewsbury, so it was their lives as well. They’d been driving me up and down the country when I was 15 to 18, so it’s a big part of our lives.”
Moving away from home at a young age is never easy, but Taylor was part of a special group of players in the Town Academy at the time and he believes the clubs impact has helped them go onto bigger and better things.
“I settled in straight away”,
“All the players lived together at Walford and it was perfect. I was there all the time for two years and I loved every single minute of it.
“A few of the lads that I still speak to talk about the Walford days and how good it was, and it helped me in my life as well as football.
“Connor’s (Connor Goldson) playing in the Championship, Woodsy’s (Ryan Woods) playing in the Championship, Bradders (Tom Bradshaw) is playing in the Championship and they were all in my youth team.
“If it wasn’t for Shrewsbury, where would they have been? I think everyone who’s been at Shrewsbury or come through the Academy would love the place.”
Taylor signed his first professional deal at the end of the 2009/10 season and the following season he scored six goals as he began to make a name for himself. His fine form led to interest from Scotland and he admits that it became a difficult period for him.
“It was a big chapter in my life”, Jon said.
“I’d obviously done well in my first year and there were a few clubs interested and my agent at the time was telling me to go to Scotland because apparently I could go for free.
“He was getting into my head about how good it was going to be. He was getting their manager to ring me about how good it would be to play at places like Celtic in front of 45,000 people.
“I was obviously only young and I was being badly advised at the time. He tried to get me to sign a contract to go to Scotland in the Shrewsbury car park.
“I went to see our Chairman and I just thought ‘do I really want to be leaving here?’, I didn’t and it was down to me to decide at the end of the day and I signed my Shrewsbury contract without my agent even being there because I didn’t care what he thought.
The decision proved a good one as Town were promoted to League One for the first time in 15 years and Jon remembers the spirit amongst the group.
“Staying was the best decision I ever made because I got to stay and play for a club that I loved with a great manager at the time in Graham Turner and coaches who were all helping me”, Taylor reminisced.
“The relationship we had as a team was amazing that year. All the lads that were there all got on really well and we just couldn’t see ourselves losing many games. I think we went unbeaten at home that year and it we had a great team bond.
“The after party, the bus around the Town was amazing and we’ve still got pictures to remember those memories and they are memories that will stay with us forever.”
Taylor would stay with Town for a further two years, but when the club were relegated back to League Two, he felt it was time to move on.
“I think I needed a new challenge and I don’t regret moving at all”, the Liverpudlian said.
“I think it helped me a lot to move on to Peterborough. It was a different style of football there, it was a totally different club where it was all about buying and selling players.
“They would rather win 6-5 than 5-0, that’s the way they are. It’s good when you are in a team like that because you get an opportunity to just attack, so I felt like it was the right time to move on from Shrewsbury.”
Since leaving Town, Jon has gone onto play in the Championship with his current side Rotherham. However, he believes that Shrewsbury was the catalyst for his career and he hopes that one day he can return.
“If it wasn’t for Shrewsbury I don’t think I would be playing football”, admitted Taylor.
“It’s all down to Shrewsbury giving me the chance and me taking that chance. That’s why when I came back to Shrewsbury with Peterborough and scored I couldn’t think of anything worse than celebrating against Shrewsbury.
“It was a last minute goal and a lot of people would say you should celebrate, but I genuinely wouldn’t do that because there is too much respect there for the club and people involved with the club like the fans.
“I still lookout for the results. As soon as we finish the games there’s always a few teams that I lookout for. I lookout for Brighton straight away because obviously Connor’s there and I lookout for Shrewsbury as well.
“I always speak to Skitty, he’s a good mate of mine, and ask how they are getting on, so I will never forget Shrewsbury and hopefully one day I can come back and play for Shrewsbury again.”