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Interviews

Matt Taylor | First Interview

26 June 2023

Interviews

Matt Taylor | First Interview

26 June 2023

Matt Taylor sat down with Shrewsbury Town's media team following his appointment as our new head coach.

The 41-year-old joins us following an extensive recruitment process led by our director of football Micky Moore.  

Speaking to the club's media channels, Matt discussed his excitment at joining Town as well as his coaching career to date.

And he also told fans exactly what they can expect from his team when the new season gets underway on August 5.

ON BEING OUR NEW HEAD COACH: 

“I’m delighted. It’s been a long process but one that, now, I can’t wait to get stuck into. 

“I think when you come to the stadium, when you look at the infrastructure behind the football club – there is nothing (I feel) other than a huge burning desire and excitement.” 

ON HIS PLAYING STYLE: 

“I think one of the things I have learnt over the past 13 or 14 months is to not put that into a box. 

“I’m very aware that the football club here has a successful playing style – something that has worked when you look at the finish last season. I think it was the second highest finish for 34 years. 

“So there is a lot that is going right at the football club. So, what do I want to bring? 

“I hope to allow the players to really express themselves. There are some exceptional footballers here and part of my role is to give them a platform and a structure which they can then go and express themselves and entertain our loyal supporters.” 

ON WHAT ELSE CAN WE EXPECT FROM A MATT TAYLOR TEAM: 

“If I look back at my career and what made me successful – it was hard work and energy. 

“The things that are non-negotiable for me will be that the players have to give everything whenever they put the shirt on. That’s the least the fans deserve. 

“I think you accept mistakes as a football fan, I do when I watch it.  

“But what is imperative is that every time a player goes onto the pitch wearing a Shrewsbury Town shirt – they have to go and give everything they have got. That is a minimum requirement and I’m sure the players will do that.” 

ON HIS COACHING CAREER SO FAR: 

“It’s been varied. I never went to university, but I spent two years at Tottenham with their under-18s and every day was a learning day. 

“I thought when I retired, I knew football. I didn’t.  

“The conversations and the golden nuggets of information that the coaches would talk about there – whether that was first team coaches or other academy coaches – really opened my eyes to a lot of things. 

“And then from there I got my first head coach role where there were a lot of things that went well and some things that didn’t. 

“I’d like to think as I sit here now, I am a better coach than I was then.

"And I think what I will need to do moving forwards is prove that to the players, prove that to the supporters and make sure at the end of it we win football matches because that is the most important thing. 

“Having been through the last 13 or 14 months and reflected on a lot, there are obviously big lessons that I learnt. 

“I think it’s important to be self-aware and to understand elements of yourself better. That is what I have done.  

“I am extremely excited for the players to return, I can’t wait to meet them all so we can start embarking on a good pre-season. 

"It will be small steps. The players will be expected to work hard on a daily basis, and they will be expected to give their all.” 

ON HIS TIME AT WALSALL: 

“It started off indifferently. The middle part was exceptional. And then we went through a period where individual errors ended up costing me my job. But that is football. 

“I think what’s important now is that everyone understands just how hungry I am for this opportunity. It has to be successful for me. I am acutely aware of that. 

“I am also very grateful to be given this opportunity at such a wonderful football club. 

“I learnt a lot at Walsall. There was a lot that went well but something things that, upon reflection, could have been better.” 

ON HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH MICKY MOORE: 

“I think when you look at the way football has previously been – where a manager takes care of everything – I think that can be difficult because there are only 24 hours in one day. 

“I would suggest my expertise is on the football pitch. And the matters away from the pitch, Micky will take care of. 

“I think with my relationship with Micky, it is paramount that we have open dialogue, we are honest with each other and we are aware of the direction we want the football club to go on. 

“On the pitch, I will be making the decisions alongside the staff. 

“But there are a lot of conversations that we’ve already had and that we will have moving forwards because Micky has been brought into the football club to perform a role – which I think he is exceptional at. 

“To have the opportunity to work with him is another big pull for me. 

“I am very excited moving forward. The relationship I have with him, and the one I have with the chairman, will be the most important. 

“And I know it will be a relationship where we can be honest with each other and that will be whether things are going the way we want them or if they need to improve.” 

ON THE SQUAD AS IT STANDS: 

“I’ve done a lot of work on that. I think out of possession the team were exceptional last season. 

“They didn’t concede a huge amount of goals in games. In terms of the structure and shape I think they are well versed. 

“Now my job coming into that is to understand there is a turnover of players, there are players that have left and moving forwards we need to recruit players to fulfil the roles in the team that we need. 

“But what I will say, I think Micky and I are on the same page with this, the person is more important than the player. 

“We need good characters. There are already good characters here and they are also very good footballers. 

“So I am very excited. Micky is already moving on with that process.  

“It’s going to be an environment where we create players who can receive the ball under pressure, who are able to twist and turn, but also understand that it’s all under-pinned by what you do out of possession. 

“As I say, I look back on my career and hard work got me to the top. And I think that has to under-pin everything this season.” 

ON PRE-SEASON: 

“The players return for pre-season this weekend. 

“I’ll have a busy for or five days now making sure I meet all the staff, making sure that I am aware of all the procedures and plans that have been put in place. 

“And then I will plan a tough four-to-five-week pre-season. 

“They are back in on Sunday for testing. It will be great to meet them all then. 

“And I would imagine that moving forwards I will make contact with the majority of them because it’s imperative they understand what is expected of them before they walk through the door.” 

ON FUTURE SIGNINGS: 

“Micky and I have already had a lot of conversations about this.  

“Without being position specific, I think it’s important we understand we have lost players from last season and there are holes within the team which we feel we need to strengthen. 

“I think one of the big things with this league is that it is extremely physical – so one of the capabilities physically of each player are going to be very important. 

“That work is fully underway and we are on the same sheet, Micky and I, where we feel we need to add to the squad.” 

ON TARGETS FOR NEXT SEASON: 

“I think in football one of the things I have learnt is it’s difficult to look too far forward. 

“But my aim this season is to make sure for that first game against Cheltenham, the team are healthy, prepared, understand their roles and responsibilities and go our and put in a performance for the supporters. 

“One thing I am aware of is the football club and the supporters are local – that is what I love about this football club, so the players have to be ready for that first game. 

“Beyond that, the aim is to win as many games as possible but let’s take one step at a time. 

“The most important thing is we get the players in on Sunday. We work extremely hard throughout pre-season and we take them to the edge without breaking them, making sure everyone is ready physically and mentally for that first game against Cheltenham.”  

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