The new Manchester City Women head coach, Gareth Taylor, consulted extensively with his predecessor Nick Cushing before applying for the role.
Former Wales international Taylor, 47, was announced as the club’s new head coach on a three-year contract on Monday, following Cushing’s departure for MLS side New York City in February. As manager of City Women, Cushing won six trophies in as many seasons, having moved to the role from the club’s academy. Taylor, previously the club’s Under-18s men's coach, has followed the same route.
During his maiden press conference - conducted from his front room via Zoom, where he was overlooked by a print of The Smiths' singer Morrissey - Taylor explained that he had known Cushing for several years and was once Cushing’s line manager before the latter’s move to the women’s team. The pair have stayed in touch since Cushing went across the Atlantic and both were tasked with studying new leagues remotely without any forthcoming fixtures during the coronavirus pandemic.
Taylor said: “He’s been a brilliant soundboard for me to use in this period. With Nick and Alan [Mahon, assistant women’s manager], I tried to get as much information as possible. At those moments, it made me think: well, do you know what? This really is something that I want to do. It’s happened and I’m so grateful.
“The flip side of this unfortunate situation is that it’s given me the opportunity to get up to speed on many things. [The women’s game] was always something I took an interest in: if you understand the life of a coach, we watch any game. I’ve been watching a hell of a lot of our previous games, I’ve watched every England international for the last two years and then focusing on our international players in Europe as well, their national games - even games that haven’t involved any of our players. I’ve been crazy mad writing notes.
“I’ve had good conversations with Nick on this because he went into the MLS a little bit blind. He was working with the players for a week before lockdown came in and it gave him an opportunity to study the MLS online. It was very similar, in that respect, for both of us.”
Taylor - who also had opportunities to consult Pep Guardiola and his assistant, Rodolfo Borrell - has met the players twice virtually. “We have to make the best of the situation,” he said, “to keep interaction with staff and players high but not too high that it becomes monotonous for them.”
Meanwhile, City’s head of women’s football, Gavin Makel, said that the Football Association had not provided City with a deadline by which it plans to reach a sporting outcome decision following its termination of the Women’s Super League season on Monday. He went on to say that he feared that finishing the Women’s FA Cup - which is still under consideration by the governing body - would be a “challenge” now the league has ended.
"I think it would be a challenge now we’ve terminated the WSL,” he said. “We’re trying to make plans around what that means for players. We can’t continue to lead players along thinking we might restart some games in another two, three, four weeks. They need a time period where they can reach peak fitness and performance levels. There’s not been any decision made, but I would be surprised given what was decided about the WSL.”
On the wait to hear the FA’s sporting outcomes decision, Makel added: “We’ve not necessarily been given a time frame of when we might expect any sort of decision on that. We’ll obviously wait as long as we need to: I think everyone will just move on, whatever the decision lands on. It’s a tough decision, but we’ll see what happens and we’re comfortable with whatever decision is made.
“I think [ending the league] was the right decision. We’re disappointed, as we said when the decision was announced, because we do feel that we could have gone on and added to our trophy cabinet this season - but we also fully understand the reasons.”