The club’s new head of performance is determined to hit the ground running once a new season is under way as he reveals he has already set plans firmly in motion.
The vastly experienced Lee Taylor brings international and top-tier-level skills to the Kuflink Stadium and he joins new manager Dennis Kutrieb and director of football Steve Lovell in formulating a path ahead for the eventual return of football.
“My role will be to head up a high/elite-performance team at the football club so that’s an umbrella under which you have all the usual fitness, nutrition, physiotherapy, strength and conditioning, sports science, data analysis tasks and duties,” LT told the club website.
“The team we’ll have here, the aim is it will be the envy of clubs much higher up. What we’ll do and what we’ll achieve, we don’t need to set limits on that. The biggest thing about this is, I’m not talking about money being thrown at it, it’s about organisation, creativity and honesty and that’s what works. I’ve been around a long time and in a lot of places and it’s about having that mindset as a footballer, through management, through the whole club, knowing the players you’re dealing with and how they need to be dealt with, and no egos amongst any of us.
“The ultimate goal, of course, is to keep everyone fully fit, fully functioning to their absolute best out there on the grass for the manager to work with. I’ll be working side by side with Dennis and Steve and their staff every day.
“And that process is happening already. We might not know when the season begins as yet but I have started planning. We’re doing everything we can right and doing it now to build a professional infrastructure at the football club which is on a level with what I have delivered in higher divisions. That’s Premier League standard, that’s international standard because I’ve worked all over the world and the biggest thing you need to do, regardless of what club you’re at, is deliver the best with the resources you’ve got.
“So when we do start the new season, we’re going to be ready. Everything that I do is going to be right and we’re going to deliver the best the club can afford and provide under the plan we’re establishing. No-one can hide because at the end of it all, we have to deliver.”
As you might expect for someone who has spent 30 years in and around all levels and various flavours of football and other sports, LT is brimming with tales from his time in the game.
The son of former Leyton Orient and West Ham defender Tommy Taylor (pictured below), LT was brought up with the likes of Harry Redknapp as a family friend. He played as a youth for Maidstone United when Graham Carr and former Fleet assistant manager Clive Walker were in charge there before forging the career path that has been his vocation for the past three decades.
His first job, as the youngest physio in the Football League, came at Scarborough in their old Third Division days and he was at the centre of one of the most infamous finishes to a season in the English lower-league game.
“We’d played Peterborough on the last day [of the 1998/99 season] and Carlisle needed to win. We were in the dressing room at the McCain Stadium waiting, with our fans celebrating survival, and this is back in the day when your only information is coming from Ceefax. So we’re sitting there staring at Ceefax and we think we’re safe because they’re only drawing. Then it pops up ‘GLASS (94)’ – the goalkeeper of all people, Jimmy Glass, has scored a header in something like the fourth or fifth minute of added time with only 10 seconds left.
“So that goal effectively cost me my first job as Scarborough went out of the league!”
And his colourful career continued after he left the Seadogs: “I went back to Orient to help my dad as he’d got them into the play-off final that they lost to Scunthorpe at Wembley. But then a chance came over in Antigua and I was appointed as the national physio for the Antigua Football Federation but that lasted only a few weeks because we were hit by Hurricane Hugo which basically wiped everything in its path!”
His work took him amongst other places to Liverpool, Notts County, the A-League with Kiwi side Wellington Phoenix and a place working with Egypt’s 2012 Olympics team. He has worked under names including Paul Ince, Rafa Benitez, David Platt and Adrian Mutu at Pune City, had three spells with Steve Evans at Boston, Mansfield and Peterborough as well as outside football in Matchroom Boxing with promoter Barry Hearn – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg as far as LT’s little black book is concerned.
He has also worked with Fleet CEO Damian Irvine before and is delighted to renew the professional relationship.
“I first knew Damian when he came over from Australia to join us at Notts County,” LT recalls. “We hit it off straight away as I’d just come back from New Zealand and had been in Australia a lot for the A League and had been doing a lot with rugby too, the Super 15 franchises there, and work with the All Blacks. We formed a great partnership at Notts and we knew we’d link up again. So I got a phone call and here I am. I had offers from abroad, from League One clubs and one in the Championship but I know Damian and Ebbsfleet will do everything right. And he knows what I can do and what I can deliver and it just feels like the right fit for me and the right fit for the club.
“I’ve got a lovely feeling about it, and more so having come in and been around the place, we’re a tight-knit group even at this early point.”