BBC Commentator Colin Fray suggested after the match at Ashton Gate last night that Lyle Taylor, following his injury time heroics in coming off the bench to score two late goals to give Forest all three points against Bristol City, had “a smile as wide as the Clifton Bridge” and it was great to see a man that has done so much in his time at the club, off the field, to finally get some reward on it.
Lyle Taylor is no doubt a leader, a man who speaks well, articulate and intelligent, deep and meaningful, previously in his younger days as a relative journeyman perhaps, often misunderstood, but now a senior pro in the dressing room at Forest, is one that is not shy of opinion, but is also one that stands up for what he believes in, literally.
Taylor has previously gone on record for stating his desire to ‘stand’ when everyone else takes knee in support of racism, Taylor since 2018 for every month of October has dyed his hair pink, in support of cancer research, raising over £50,000 in the process.
The Montserrat international’s biggest reasons for supporting the charity is having seen relatives suffered in the past, Taylor stating “Raising money towards cancer research is something that is important to me, simply because I’ve seen people so close to me suffer and, in the worst cases, lose that fight.”
Whilst at Charlton Athletic, Taylor first went pink in 2018, and now traditionally wears pink boots, and pink hair during October, to visually create awareness for the cause, and last night in doing so at Ashton Gate, he raised not just funds and awareness to a worthy campaign, but found a new cult following of Nottingham Forest fans that are beginning to see what he can do as a footballer too.
Since joining the Reds from Charlton in 2020, things haven’t always gone that well for Taylor, scoring five goals in his first season under Chris Hughton’s goal-shy team, Taylor when he wasn’t on the bench was often accused of spending more time on the floor than on his feet, was often criticised by fans for his demeaner, was subject to have had bust ups with the previous regime, was even said to have refused to have come on as a substitute during one game.
But Taylor’s troubles with the previous management, was seemingly echoed (all be it not as loudly and obvious) by everyone else within the dressing room, is it wonder how the same group of players that started this current season in the clubs worst run of form in over 100 years, have now won their most successive set of away games (4 in a row) since 1995, Taylor jokingly stating out of the current team “only me, Colback, Bongy, maybe Lolley would have been the only ones alive” when the Reds last achieved such success.
Forest’s turnaround has been no-doubt related to the arrival of Steve Cooper who experienced players like Colback, and Taylor, have gone on record to state “it feels like a proper club again”.
Cooper has brought into the Forest way and given fans back belief and enjoyment, with the players he’s allowed them to express themselves in an attacking sense, our own writer Tom Head stating on twitter “For Chris Hughton, managing Forest was a burden. But for Steve Cooper, it is a privilege”. A poignant reminder that those that embrace the challenge in the way that the fans wish, will ensure an easier ride than those that don’t.
Take the Reds equaliser last night, from the spot after Brennan Johnson, a player loaned out last season, scoring 13 goals for Lincoln when he might have come in some use at the City Ground, ran riot all night towards the Robins defence, went down inside the box not for the first time this (or last) season, Taylor dispatching the penalty as cool and calmly as he liked, stating “Nobody wanted to celebrate (the goal), Brennan came to get the ball back with me in the net, and everyone sprinted back to the half way line, and that is it, that is what this group are capable of doing” the Reds going on to win a match that perhaps previous Coaches would have settled to take a point in, due to the late stage of the leveller.
Taylor jokingly stated of his winner, “three months ago, if you had asked Panos the nutritionist, that would have bounced off my stomach and gone out for a goal kick.”
The player in good spirits, overjoyed with his contribution to winning a game of football for his club, thanks to his goals, stating “I saw a pink flair, I saw pink smoke going off, we’ve got an incredible away following, you saw the City Ground on Saturday with 28,000 and it’s a proper proper football club with a proper following. It was nice to see a few pink shirts here too”.
If you would like to help donate towards Lyle Taylor’s fabulous Pink October campaign for Cancer Research UK you can do so here, and if you have a bit of pink that you can pull off this weekend, why not wear it at the City Ground as Nottingham Forest take on Fulham this Sunday.
*Article provided by Daniel Peacock (Editor).
*Main image @NFFC Lyle Taylor had the Forest fans singing in the rain last night.