Despite reported interest by the Club in Sam Allardyce, Joe Kinnear, Steve Bruce and David Moyes, Gillingham’s Peter Taylor was appointed as O’Neill’s replacement later that month.
Taylor came with a good reputation after playing for Southend United and for England whilst at third tier Crystal Palace. He later suffered relegation and promotion with Tottenham Hotspur before moving to Leyton Orient, and, briefly to Oldham Athletic and Exeter City.
He then managed Dartford, Southend, Dover Athletic, and Gillingham, with whom he gained promotion to the second tier just before his appointment at Filbert Street.
His three-year spell as England Under-21 coach saw his team qualify for the 2000 UEFA European Championship finals. During the close season, Taylor started to re-fashion O’Neill’s team, bringing in Gary Rowett, Callum Davidson, Trevor Benjamin and club-record signing, Ade Akinbiyi.
Leicester City 2000/01 squad photo
Taylor inherited a talented squad who had just won the League Cup the season beforehand.
In September, Steve Walsh and Tony Cottee left the Club, soon to be followed by Stan Collymore, who was transferred to Premier League side Bradford City.
On the first day of October, though, after the opening eight fixtures of the season, Leicester City went to the top of the Premier League, having accrued 16 points. Taylor was named Carling Manager of the Month, while goalkeeper Tim Flowers received the Player of the Month prize.
Such was Taylor’s reputation at this point that in November, he was appointed caretaker manager of England for a match against Italy and made David Beckham his captain.
Back at Filbert Street, Neil Lennon left to join O’Neill at Celtic in December 2000. The following month, however, Taylor signed Roberto Mancini, who left to coach Fiorentina after only five appearances.
The season still looked promising with little hint of the disappointments to come. Remarkably, City started March in fourth place - a UEFA Champions League berth - following a win over Liverpool.
Ade Akinbiyi & Peter Taylor
Taylor bought Ade Akinbiyi for a club-record fee in 2000.
A week later, they lost at home to third-tier Wycombe Wanderers in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup. After that, the season collapsed. City lost nine of their remaining 10 Premier League matches in a run which included eight back-to-back league defeats, which was a club record.
The team slumped from fourth to 13th in the standings. During the close season, following that collapse in form at the end of the previous season, Taylor signed Ian Walker, James Scowcroft and Dennis Wise for a combined sum of £7M.
However, the season started disastrously with a 5-0 home defeat by newly promoted Bolton Wanderers, followed by a 4-0 defeat at Highbury.
Six weeks into the season, with Leicester bottom of the Premier League, Taylor was sacked following a defeat at Charlton Athletic. He subsequently managed Brighton and Albion, Hull City, Crystal Palace, Stevenage Borough, Wycombe Wanderers, Bradford City and England Under-20s.
Taylor had additional spells with Gillingham and the England Under-21s. He also coached in Bahrain, India and New Zealand and was recently the manager of Dagenham and Redbridge FC in the Conference Premier Division of the National League before leaving in December 2019.
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