Sheffield Wednesday have sent former Huddersfield Town and Lincoln City idol Gary Taylor-Fletcher back to Leicester City after an unsuccessful loan spell.
The 33 year-old played his final game for the Owls against Huddersfield, of all clubs, although he was substituted in favour of Atdhe Nuhiu during the second half. GT-F started two of his four games but failed to galvanise a Wednesday side that is having no luck in front of goal. A particularly poor (stonewall penalty) decision and the crossbar denied them in a 0-0 draw that is becoming symptomatic of a side that has the potential to be there or thereabouts despite the financial inequalities in ‘the Premier two’ in all but name.
GT-F would be just the job for Lincoln City during the autumn of a career that has seen him score in the top five divisions of English football. GT-F bagged 30 goals in 93 appearances in all competitions for Big Keith’s Imps and is another of ex-manager Simmo’s finds that have gone on to play in the top flight. With 19 goals in all competitions he finished his first season as the 2003/4 player of the year. Gary then broke a 106 year record scoring in our opening 6 games of the 04/05 season before Peter Jackson, lured him to Huddersfield Town, playing him largely as a winger (Abbot and Booth both took some dislodging in their prime) in a first season that yielded 15 goals and then 11 the season after.
Blackpool signed the mercurial front-man in their first Championship season with his début coming in a 1-0 win over his current club Leicester City. He capped his rise from non-league to the Premier League with a 30 million 39th minute strike in the 09/10 play-off final at Wembley to wipe out those sad memories for the Imps against Southend. Blackpool released him in the summer of 2013 with Leicester offering him a one year deal. Promotion as Champions saw GT-F get a years extention, although he failed to get a look in and then failed to shine at Sheffield Wednesday on loan.
He will be a free agent in the summer (34 in June) and would be a talismanic addition to any ambitious lower Football League or Conference side. Gary averages a goal every four games (101 in 398 League games plus 16 in 51 Cup appearances) not bad for someone who has spent most of his time cutting in. He would put 500-1000 on the gate at Lincoln – good business surely?
|Full name||Gary Taylor-Fletcher|
|Date of birth||4 June 1981|
|Place of birth||Widnes, England|
|Height||1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)|
|Club gig in the game|
|2001||Hull City (loan)||5||(0)|
|2001–2002||Grays Athletic (loan)||4||(3)|
|2002||Dagenham & Redbridge (loan)||3||(1)|
|2002–2003||Dagenham & Redbridge (loan)||5||(0)|
|2014||Sheffield Wednesday (loan)||4||(0)|
Since joining Leicester City from Blackpool FC on a one year deal in September, 32 year old Imps legend Gary Taylor Fletcher has struggled to get into the Foxes side. GTF has managed just 26 minutes of League action for the third placed Foxes, which is such a waste for a talent who is winding down his career. It would be lift-off if the Foxes would lend him to the cash strapped Imps for a month!
Thanks for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs
GTF got 25 minutes against Blackpool on his debut, then an hour in the 2-1 League Cup win over Derby, however things have been downward since then. The Right-winger came on in the 90th minute of the 2-1 win over Barnsley, but failed to even make the bench in the next two games before being an unused sub at the weekend. GTF is behind 21 year old Anthony Knockaert in the pecking order, who was replaced by Matty James, another talented midfielder who is just 22, in the 2-1 win over Huddersfield at the weekend. As for up top they have an embarrassment of riches in Nugent, Vardy and Hopper.
With the Foxes third and continuing to look Premiership bound and capable of at least a play-off berth if not better, Gary Taylor Fletcher could do with a loan to get match fit. Lincoln might be way down the League but we are just down the road and the return of GTF is just what we need. Lincoln need a winger and a talisman to kick-start a return to the League. Just imagine if he signed for a month – it would put a thousand on the gate if he signed, it would spark a stampede for replica shirt sales.
Dreams and ambition are a great thing, but the realities of life suggest the Imps will be unlikely to get such a massive favour from the Foxes. That said if you don’t ask you don’t get, oh to live the dream and see such a legend another 2-3 times at Sincil Bank before he hangs up his boots. His Lincoln career came courtesy of Keith Alexander who signed a lad he knew from his Northwich Victoria days in 2003. GTF would mesmerise defences and go on to become Supporters Player of the Year in 2003–04 with 19 goals.
GTF then equalled a 106 year old club record when he scored in our six opening games in 2004/5 but finished the season with 11 goals from 45 appearances as the Lincolnshire poacher turned gamekeeper. Jacko spied and applied, nicking him on a free, taking him to Huddersfield where he had to make his mark as a right winger getting 15 in his first season and 11 in his second. During his spell at the Terriers he scored the 500,000 football League goal with a 25-yard beauty into the top corner against the Millers.
Blackpool signed him in 2007 and he would be instrumental in the promotion from the Championship to the Premiership. GTF never broke double figures during his Tangerine period but the artist was certainly a creator and scorer of great goals as opposed to being the great goal-scorer we Imps knew him to be. We could do with either at the moment to catapult this club back to where it belongs. The Nucleus of the side is there but Taylor-Fletcher would give waht the club and the city have been looking for for some time.