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Des is Taylor made for Cherries
Published : 27 Apr 2011 07:00:00
IN the hectic and solitary world of a football scout, ploughing a lone furrow on the country's roads and dashing from stadium to stadium comes with the territory. But as he climbs out of the all-too-familiar surroundings of his Vauxhall Astra, Cherries' chief scout Des Taylor looks surprisingly lively given the busy nature of his schedule. With just two telephones for company and an array of shirts and trousers hanging in the back, his motor boasts the lived-in look. Out of necessity, it resembles more of a mobile wardrobe than a car. It is a wardrobe on wheels, joked Taylor, sipping a well-deserved coffee on his way back from watching Yeovil Town's recent home clash against Carlisle. I get back to Birmingham once a week to do all my washing the guy at the laundry place loves me because I spend about £60 a week there on washing, ironing and dry cleaning. Every morning, I go out and choose a shirt and a pair of trousers, some clean underwear and socks, and away I go again. Since going full-time with Cherries after Eddie Howe's departure, Taylor's mileage clock has taken even more of a battering. On this particular evening, prior to his late-night pit-stop en route to his Bournemouth hotel base, he had hotfooted it from a Cherries friendly at Reading to see his fifth match in four days. Despite having already made countless journeys during an eventful week, signs of weariness were not forthcoming as Taylor immediately started talking football after parking up at Huish Park. Decked out in smart casual attire, probably selected from the clothing department in his car, Taylor collected his ticket and took his seat in the stands to begin his night's work. A major part of his job is to run the rule over potential transfer targets, as well as brief management duo Lee Bradbury and Steve Fletcher on upcoming opponents. Taylor's son Joseph plays a part by doing preliminary research and feeding information into the club's database, supplied by Scout7, which can be accessed by Cherries' management team from anywhere in the country. At matches, Taylor himself takes an in-depth look at opposition tactics, formations, set pieces and players. He then compiles reports that Bradbury and Fletcher use for their match preparation. While Taylor's schedule requires the stamina of a long-haul lorry driver and involves unsociable hours, he essentially gets paid to watch football. He admits the work can be lonely and frustrating but also acknowledges how good a job he has, so do not reach for your violins just yet. Taylor said: There are times when I have been driving back from a game, especially when I was in full-time employment, and you wonder what you do it for. I was pleasantly surprised when the club made a proposition to me to go full-time but I think reading between the lines, the continuity I provided from the previous management team was important to the club. I love it, I thrive on it and I get a buzz from it. You have got to be focused, determined and be able to deal with long journeys and generally being in your own company. Taylor, who stays with his children in Birmingham and York when not in Bournemouth, covered around 16,000 miles for Cherries last season in an unpaid capacity. Previously with a scouting agency, he worked for Howe while also carrying out his duties as a fresh produce broker. Since being handed a permanent contract by Cherries, Taylor is a more regular fixture around Dean Court. He added: You very rarely see somebody who is doing a scouting job being as actively involved as I am with the management and the players. I think it is good and I think it is refreshing, he added. Lee and Steve trust me and have taken me at face value and the relationship has amazed me. It gives you a great sense of satisfaction to know that everybody knows how much effort I put in and I see how much effort they put in. It can be very disheartening and it can be very lonely but it can be very satisfying as well.