Gordon Taylor is football's fattest cat and was meant to go a year ago

Gordon Taylor is football’s fattest cat… the PFA chief is telling top stars NOT to accept pay cuts in a country reeling from coronavirus, yet STILL picks up £2.2m salary a year after saying he’d step down

  • Gordon Taylor revealed he will step down as PFA chief exec on March 27, 2019
  • But it is over a year on from that announcement and Taylor is clinging to his role
  • Taylor initially became the chairman of the PFA back in November 1978
  • Premier League stars have been slammed for not yet agreeing to pay cuts
  • The PFA are key to the row – and have told players not to accept clubs’ offers

In a sport full of fat cats, who is the fattest of them all? Perhaps it is the man who is still digging his claws deep, 12 months after announcing his resignation.

Gordon Taylor, chief executive of the Professional Footballers’ Association, remains in control, having initially revealed his intention to stand down on the morning of March 27, 2019.

Taylor marked that anniversary by writing to his members advising them against accepting wage deferrals or reductions, while the rest of the country is crippled by coronavirus.

Read the room, Gordon.

Gordon Taylor (left, at the 2019 PFA awards) remains as chief executive of the Professional Footballers’ Association, despite announcing he would stand down on March 27, 2019

One year later Taylor wrote to PFA members advising against taking a wage deferral 

Taylor earns £2.2m and has been the key man at the PFA since becoming chairman in 1978

This is no time for Premier League players to be seen stuffing pockets, not while Tim in ticket sales and Abby in admin have seen their salaries slashed by 20 per cent.

One man cannot take home £200,000 per week while another on £20,000 per year takes a cut.

Yet Taylor is his own man. He was once a winger for Bolton, slugging it out in the old Division Two. Now he is a seemingly-immovable object on a £2.2million salary. He is the highest-paid trade union boss in the world.

When this 75-year-old announced his resignation 12 months ago, it came with an asterisk.

*I’ll go, but only once this independent review into my organisation is completed and a successor has been found – oh, and I’m taking Ben Purkiss with me.

Purkiss, you may recall, is the chairman and would-be moderniser of the PFA.

In an interview with Sportsmail in 2018, he revealed to us how they have £50m in the bank but dedicated just £100,000 to dementia in football.

Do not forget it was later proven there is indeed a connection between professional footballers and degenerative brain diseases, most likely caused by the heading of the ball.

The review of Taylor, now 75, and his work at the PFA could be further delayed by coronavirus

Taylor has been at the PFA for 42 years – here he is pictured at his desk in Manchester in 1988

Taylor saw his wages rise astronomically once the Premier League was formed

Sportsmail columnist Chris Sutton, whose father Mike is a former pro and suffering from dementia, and the family of the late former England international Jeff Astle, long campaigned for that research and felt no joy in the confirmation of a link.

In the end, Purkiss fell on his sword in seeing Taylor out, but the chief executive remains in power.

Why? That is due to the delay in the investigation into the organisation run by Taylor.

The review by Sport Resolutions into the PFA’s governance and operations is ongoing, as is the separate probe by the Charity Commission. Coronavirus could cause further setbacks.

So for now, Taylor will sit tight in that office of his, seemingly playing puppet-master to members.

Taylor initially became chairman of the PFA on November 13, 1978, replacing Derek Dougan. The headline in the next day’s Daily Mail read: ‘Clean-up call by Taylor.’

The then 33-year-old with a degree in economics said his first aim was to tidy up tackling. He wanted to have an immediate impact and get his name known.

When he first came in at the PFA, Taylor wanted to oversee a tidy-up of tackling within football

Taylor pictured awarding Cristiano Ronaldo a FIFPRO World XI gong back in October 2008

Taylor alongside former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson back in 2007

When the Premier League was formed in 1992, it was reported Taylor’s salary jumped from £82,000 to more than £200,000 (and another zero has been added since).

In 2001, there was even talk of the PFA having its own dedicated channel on the Sky network which would allow Taylor to have the last word.

A cartoon at the time depicted football fans rushing out of a pub with the caption: ‘The Gordon Taylor TV show must have started!’

That same year, English football threatened to go on strike because Taylor wanted a bigger share of television money for his union. He got his wish eventually.

There are too many stories to mention, but Taylor has long had his naysayers in the game – and he will not have won over any armchair fans this week.

Taylor (right) was once a professional footballer and played for Bolton and Birmingham

Taylor has long had his naysayers during his time at the PFA – he received fierce criticism when it emerged the organisation offered just £100,000 to investigate football’s dementia links 

Taylor with Adrian Mutu (centre) following the former Chelsea player’s cocaine ban in 2004

You hope common sense prevails and Premier League players, despite that letter from Taylor, will agree to cuts. They can afford it more than most, after all.

In the question of who is football’s fattest cat, a few might say Richard Scudamore, the former Premier League chief executive who received that infamous £5m farewell gift.

In these times of hardship due to the coronavirus, that golden handshake in which Bruce Buck arranged for each club to hand him £250,000 seems even more grotesque.

But Taylor has to be up there. He truly is the cat who got the cream.


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