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Tommy Taylor

Personal information
Full nameThomas Taylor
Date of birth29 January 1932
Place of birthBarnsley, England
Date of death6 February 1958(age 26)
Place of deathMunich, Germany
Playing positionCentre forward

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Thomas "Tommy" Taylor (29 January 1932 6 February 1958) was an English footballer, who was known for his aerial ability. He was one of the eight Manchester United players who lost their lives in the Munich air disaster.

Taylor began his career playing for a local coal mining team at the colliery where he worked. At the age of just 16, local scouts offered him the chance to play for Barnsley, whom he joined in July 1949. He made his first team debut on 7 October 1950, in a 3 - 1 home win against Grimsby Town. In his next match, on 4 November 1950, Taylor scored a hat-trick in a 7 - 0 victory against Queens Park Rangers. In all he scored seven goals in twelve appearances in 1950 - 51.

After scoring 26 goals in 44 games at Barnsley, who had been unable to progress beyond the Second Division, Taylor was transferred to defending First Division champions Manchester United in March 1953 for a fee of £29,999 (Matt Busby did not want to burden young Taylor as being a “30,000 pounds player”. So taking out his wallet, he pulled from it a 1 pound note and handed it to the lady who had been serving up the teas in the Boardroom).

He got off to a great start, scoring twice on his debut. By the end of the 1952 - 53 season, Taylor had scored seven goals in his first 11 games for United. He eventually led the team to league titles in 1955 - 56 and 1956 - 57 and scored in the 1957 FA Cup Final, when United were denied the double as they lost 2 - 1 to Aston Villa (winners of the competition for a then record seventh time). Such was Taylor's worth that Matt Busby decided to reject an offer of £65,000 for him from Internazionale in 1957. Had the deal gone through, then it would have broken the world transfer record.

At the time of his emergence, many saw Taylor as the perfect eventual replacement for the ageing Nat Lofthouse in the England side. In all, he played 19 times for England, scoring 16 goals.

Taylor died instantly in the Munich air disaster, and at the time was engaged to his fiancée Carol.

He is buried at Monk Bretton Cemetery in his hometown Barnsley.

On 8 July 2011 a Blue Plaque was unveiled at 22 Great Stone Road in Stretford. This was a boarding House in the 1950s and Manchester United used it as lodgings for their single players. Tommy lived there with David Pegg and (briefly) Mark Jones until these players were killed at Munich. The Blue Plaque is sponsored by Stretford High School (which is only 50 yards away) and came about as a result of a local history project undertaken by the students at the school. The plaque was unveiled by Dickie Bird MBE, who was at school with Tommy Taylor in Barnsley.

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