Ex-Portsmouth, Plymouth and Oxford United striker handed Football League return - at the age of 34

A former Pompey striker has been rewarded by being granted a Football League return – at the age of 34.

Wednesday, 15th June 2022, 1:50 pm

Ryan Taylor featured 41 times as Grimsby triumphed in the National League play-offs to secure a place in League Two next season.

The forward netted nine times, including in the Mariners’ entertaining 5-4 semi-final success over Wrexham.

Out of contract at the season’s end, boss Paul Hurst has now moved to secure Taylor’s future by offering a fresh deal.

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He is among 10 of their victorious promotion side to be tabled new contracts, with former Pompey favourite Danny Rose among those to be released.

The Blues League Two title-winner’s exit had previously been announced, allowing a permanent switch to Darlington, where he had impressed on loan since October.

As for Taylor, it represents the chance to play in the Football League again, having dropped out 12 months earlier following his release from Newport County.

During a nine-club career, the veteran striker spent 18 months at Pompey after arriving in January 2014.

Ryan Taylor celebrates the first of his two goals in Pompey's late comeback against Tranmere in February 2015. Picture: Joe Pepler

Recruited by Richie Barker, a former Rotherham team-mate, he marked his Blues home debut with a goal in a 1-1 draw against Mansfield in League Two.

Following Barker’s sacking in March 2014, Taylor netted with a penalty in a crucial 2-1 win at Newport under new caretaker boss Andy Awford.

With three goals in his last six appearances during that 2013-14 campaign, Taylor helped Pompey avoid relegation out of the Football League.

He then struck 10 in 41 matches the following campaign, with Awford now permanent manager.

Ryan Taylor netted 16 times in 59 appearances for Pompey - and could be back in League Two next season at the age of 34. Picture: Joe Pepler

That haul included two goals in the final eight minutes to complete a remarkable late comeback from 2-0 down to beat Tranmere 3-2 at Fratton Park in February 2015.

Only Jed Wallace, with 17, scored more goals than Taylor that season as the Blues finished 16th, with Awford departing in April 2015.

Paul Cook arrived in the summer of 2015, with Taylor not initially on the list of those players labelled surplus to requirements.

However, following talks, the striker eventually left Fratton Park and joined Oxford United, where he stayed for 18 months, before turning out for Plymouth and Newport.

In total, Taylor made 59 appearances and scored 16 times during his 18 months on the south coast.

Now, at the age of 34, he has the opportunity of another stint in the Football League – should he wish to accept Grimsby’s contract offer.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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