Burnley midfielder Matt Taylor has been saddened by the demise of weekend opponents Bolton Wanderers.
The 33-year-old spent three-and-a-half years with the Trotters after being snapped up from Portsmouth for £3.5m by Gary Megson.
Taylor made more than 100 appearances for the club in the Premier League, scoring 23 times, and featured in the UEFA Cup campaign of 2007/08 where Wanderers knocked Atletico Madrid out over two legs thanks to El Hadji Diouf’s strike at the Macron Stadium.
Striker Sergio Aguero featured for the Spaniards, though was sent off just 14 minutes after replacing Jose Antonio Reyes as a substitute in the first leg.
“Portsmouth would be the place that stands out for me if I had to pick one because I had so many milestones,” he said. “I was married while I was there, I had my first child when I was there and I made my Premier League debut when I was there.
“But I loved my three-and-a-half years at Bolton - I thought it was wonderful. To be honest I didn’t want to leave but it was kind of forced upon me. Ironically it was the right decision.
“The season I joined we were in the UEFA Cup, we played Bayern, I played in the game where we beat Atletico over two legs. We beat Sporting Lisbon at home and then the manager decided that we had a big game against Blackburn, he rested a few lads and it proved to be the wrong decision.”
Taylor added: “Because of the financial impact of getting relegated from the Premier League I would suggest that the manager was shackled in prioritising it. Gary Megson obviously thought that and quite rightly so because we stayed up that season. We had another year of Premier League football.
“It does sadden me. What saddens me more than anything else is that Bolton was a place that always had good fans. We used to get 25,000 fans and that was a good attendance.
“I went to watch a game at the end of last season and there was 15,000 people there. It’s a fantastic stadium, a Premier League stadium and the training ground is great. It’s about getting the fans back in but the only way they’ll do that is by winning games.”
The challenge for Taylor now is to force an entry in to Sean Dyche’s starting XI. After injury restricted the one-time Hammer to 11 appearances in the top flight last term, the midfielder has returned from the summer rejuvenated and is keen to impress.
Though he’s yet to make a league start this term, Taylor has already equalled last season’s appearance tally and has added crucial goals against Birmingham and Sheffield Wednesday at Turf Moor.
After returning from a training camp in La Manga with the Clarets squad during the international break, Taylor said: “It was really good but it was a tough trip away physically. It wasn’t, by any means, a jolly outing. It was a tough working trip. It gave us a chance to get in a different environment.
“The lads had a bit of spare time, a bit of down town, played some golf but when we worked we worked really hard. It was a good trip. The facilities in La Manga were fantastic. It was a good three or four days.”
He added: “As a footballer you want to play, every individual is the same. All I can do is go out and play well when I’m given the opportunity and I believe I’ve done that. If I continue to do well hopefully I’ll get a chance in the team.
“I’ve enjoyed it. Last season was a complete write off for me. It was a nightmare in terms of injury and other factors. This season I feel good and really fit.”