Ken Taylor has had an extraordinary life. At one stage he was playing cricket for Yorkshire, football for Huddersfield Town and studying full-time at The Slade School of Fine Art in London. In the words of a contemporary newspaper feature, he was ‘the most wanted young man in Britain’.
His brother Jeff played football for Huddersfield and Fulham, gained a Geography degree from London University and became an opera singer. Yet the two of them had started out in a small terraced house in Huddersfield, sharing a bed for ten years. Their father had become a mill-worker after being unemployed in the 1930s.
As a footballer Ken Taylor played alongside Denis Law and Ray Wilson under the management of the legendary Bill Shankly. As a cricketer he played with Fred Trueman and Geoff Boycott under the inspirational captaincy of Brian Close, a member of the great Yorkshire side that won seven championships between 1959 and 1968.
For the last thirty years he has worked as an artist and teacher in North Norfolk, and in this book he shares his memories of his sporting life and the characters he encountered, accompanying all this with his art work. Some observers think that Ken Taylor might have achieved more if he had concentrated on just one of his talents, but he has no regrets. “If you took out any of the three strands of my life,” he says, “it would have meant my missing out on so much pleasure, so much satisfaction.”
Any reader of this book will understand what he means. There is so much here to enjoy: larger-than-life characters, thrilling sporting contests, memories of a different age – and the work of a very talented artist.