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

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.

Tommy was arguably the greatest centre-forward to play for England, let alone Manchester United, of this era. He was certainly one of the most underrated of all-time and his scoring record would have been staggering in any era. For United he managed two goals every three matches; put another way, he found the net once every two hours or so that he spent on a football pitch. Yet when the all-time greats are mentioned, his name does not always crop up outside Old Trafford circles.

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 disastermarker, and at the time was engaged to his fiancée Carol.

He is buried at Monk Bretton Cemetery in his hometown Barnsley. [84870]


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