'I never wanted to leave Burnley' - Gareth Taylor looks back on his 2003 move to Nottingham Forest which dug the club out of a hole

Gareth TaylorGareth Taylor
Gareth Taylor | jpimedia
Burnley have had a long history of having to sell players to survive.

Go back to 1974, and while £300,000 was a lot of money to turn down from Everton for Martin Dobson, many fans felt it was to fund the recently built Bob Lord Stand at Turf Moor.

Almost 40 years later, the club had to cash in on Charlie Austin just to make ends meet.

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A decade before, Gareth Taylor was put in a similar situation.

Gareth TaylorGareth Taylor
Gareth Taylor | jpimedia

A year after the collapse of ITV Digital, Burnley's finances were in a perilous state, and Taylor, against his and then manager Stan Ternent's wishes, was sold after netting 37 in 106 appearances for the club.

The Clarets accepted an offer of £500,000 from Nottingham Forest, and Taylor was on his way.

The Wales international was out of action at the time, after suffering a nasty eye injury in pre-season against Leeds United.

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And Taylor, now academy manager at Manchester City, looked back on a difficult time: "I didn't realise how bad the situation was.

"I wanted to stay, I didn't want any more money, my contract was up the following year, and I said, 'look, just extend it by a year'.

"I was coming up for 31/32 at the time, I'd had a couple of good seasons, but Stan actually said they had to sell me.

"It was a strange situation.

"I was out with an eye injury. That was a shocker - I had some bad injuries in my career, ACLs, but that was the worst and most frustrating I ever had.

"I don't think most people realised how bad that was.

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"I was in Burnley Hospital for about six days, then I came back home and if you get a secondary bleed, you lose the eye.

"My eye filled up with so much blood after getting poked by Michael Duberry, I came home and was there for about 24 hours and had such severe headaches.

"I was back in A&E in Manchester, in a Bupa hospital for about 10 days.

"Stan was amazing, he got all the players to come and visit me, him, the staff, everyone.

"It was just amazing.

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"At that period, I was getting phone calls from Nottingham Forest, Norwich, Nigel Worthington was really keen, and I didn't want to go all that way - I was coming, not to the end of my career, but not far away, and was happy where I was.

"I was desperate to stay and Stan was desperate to keep me, but in the end Forest came in with a big offer of about half a million, which was good money at that stage."

Ternent accepted the club had to sell, and Taylor added: "I said to Stan, 'I don't want to go gaffer', but he said 'we're in so much trouble, we need the money'.

"I thought 'I'm not stitching the club up', and I left.

"I think my first game, after a mini pre-season with Forest, Paul Hart threw me in at the Turf.

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"I was so nervous, I couldn't believe it, I felt like a loyalty to the club, but they might not have known I left to help the club, and myself, but the reception I got when they read my name out, incredible.

"My dad was at the game and he was almost in tears. It made me feel eight feet tall.

"I made the mistake of scoring five minutes from time, but I didn't celebrate - I never would."

Taylor retains that affection for the club, and is delighted to see them in a far healthier place on and off the pitch 17 years on: "I love the club, there really is something about Burnley and the people there.

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"I just think it's great they are flying high now, in the Premier League, punching above their weight.

"Earlier in the season there was some talk about maybe changing the manager, but Sean is doing an amazing job, his staff and players, the way he keeps them at that level.

"I work at Manchester City, and knowing the quality and resources there - it's incredible how he does it.

"For them to go to that next level will take huge investment, but sometimes you have to be careful what you wish for.

"A lot of things change when you have money, and you go away from what has got you success.

"Sean has definitely got a formula."