New head coach Matt Taylor: Walsall's ambition was key

New head coach Matt Taylor insists the vision and ambition at Walsall is what attracted him as he aims to fulfil the club's hopes of promotion.

Walsall's new head coach Matt Taylor
Walsall's new head coach Matt Taylor

The 39-year-old arrived at the Banks's Stadium this afternoon on his first official day as boss.

He takes over after leaving Spurs, where he was under-18s manager, and brings with him a wealth of playing experience at the top level.

Now, in the fourth tier of English football, Taylor is aiming for immediate success and hailed the culture among the board of directors as a major reason for him taking the role.

"To make the decision to leave Tottenham, I wouldn't want to leave for another position where there's not ambition," Taylor said.

"Ambition is one of they factors. I know as a player and coach that under pressure you tend to knuckle down and work harder.

"All I want to do is get this football club back to a position the chairman and fans want. It's imperative we're open and honest on how we get there. We'll give the fans as much information as we can.

"I wouldn't have come here if the chairman and board of directors didn't' have the vision for the football club that they do.

"I'm really excited to be given this opportunity. I feel that it's the right time, the football club with the right people, more importantly. I'm very excited and can't wait to get going.

"I'm under no illusions that it comes down to winning football matches and that's ultimately what we need to do as a group.

"But, I'm trying to establish a football team that the fans can be proud of. A football team they can resonate with.

"I've said it previously, it's their team – the fans. It will be great to have them back as well."

Chairman Leigh Pomlett and technical director Jamie Fullarton joined Taylor for his unveiling as they began a new era for the Saddlers.

Pomlett has been largely praised for his communication with supporters since taking over, with several video addresses and media interviews, and Taylor says the 'honesty' at the club was another huge factor for him.

He added: "The thing that struck me was the honesty from the people at the football club and that's massively important to me as a person. As a core value of mine.

"When you speak to people for a long time and then don't realise how long it is, you understand there is a relationship that can be built there.

"That's something I'm keen to do, build a relationship with the chairman, Jamie and everybody that's at the football club. It's vitally important to do that, be transparent, open and honest."

After Brian Dutton's departure Walsall were keen to continue the model of a young and hungry coach, to compliment the work of Fullarton.

When asked about the process in appointing Taylor, Pomlett said: "When you lose a manager and you're looking for a new one, you can guarantee you'll get 50-100 applicants for the job.

"I didn't want to go through that process. I sat with Jamie and together we wrote a profile of what we're looking for and I said to Jamie 'go out and select somebody'.

"He came back with a list of two or three names and I asked for the best one from his perspective and he said Matt Taylor.

"We wanted somebody young and ambitious with a success record behind him, who people would want to play for. I'm determined not to have a repeat of this season, which has been difficult.

"It became a pretty easy selection process, that Matt was the right guy."

Now, with the 2021/22 season underway in two months, Pomlett insists he is targeting promotion back to League One.

He added: "His brief is to get us back into League One. I'm looking for a significant improvement on last year.

"I'm looking for a real push for promotion. We're capable of doing that and we should be doing that.

"A combination of Matt and Neil (McDonald) is what I'm looking for, coupled with Jamie. It seems to me to be absolutely right for us.

"It's different. I didn't want a continuation of the same. I wanted the club to have a bit of a slapping from a football perspective, we need to move the agenda on.

"I'm looking for promotion but at minimum I'm looking at a significant improvement on last year."

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