Hastings ex-footballer’s bid to recreate 1976 team photo for Bowel Cancer UK

A former non-league footballer from Hastings is planning to recreate a photo shoot of his old football team from 45 years ago to raise money for a cancer charity.

Tuesday, 21st September 2021, 10:52 am
Michael with his partner Jacqui SUS-210921-103113001

Michael Taylor, 73, is also donating the proceeds of his autobiography to Bowel Cancer UK, as his partner has been diagnosed with the disease.

He has more than 60 years of experience in the non-league game as a player, a manager, a scout and a coach.

Michael was also part of the management team for Surrey FA for five years.

Michael's team photo of Thornton Heath United in 1976 SUS-210921-103124001

He has now written a book about his experience called Non-league Football: A Rollercoaster Ride.

Michael said: “It was a difficult book to write in terms of researching all the facts over those years but thanks to my dad who kept every newspaper article about me and all the programmes of my career I was able to do this.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed re-living every moment of my life in non-league football.”

Michael decided to donate the proceeds of his book to Bowel Cancer UK after his partner Jacqui found out 18 months ago that she had bowel cancer.

He said: “It came out of the blue. Jacqui received her bowel cancer screening test in the post. I was very guilty myself of not always doing the tests when they came, but Jacqui felt she should do it.

“We were shocked when the results came back and we were told Jacqui needed to be examined further. She had more tests and that was when she was told she had bowel cancer.

“It been a very difficult time for us. She’s been on several different treatments, but none of them have been working.

“Jacqui helped me so much to put this book together over the two years it took me to write it, so I wanted to donate the profits to help others like her who are living with this disease.”

On Sunday (September 26), Michael’s old football team from Thornton Heath United will recreate a picture of the 1976 football squad, 45 years on.

The photo shoot will be open to the public to watch and there will be a collection for Bowel Cancer UK at the event.

Michael said: “It was quite difficult to track everyone down from the old team photo, but once I got going and started making phone calls, people knew other people, and I was able to find others on Facebook.

“We feel very humble that we can all get back together again and we can get this picture taken.”

Michael will be doing a tour of non-league clubs to promote his book and will raffle off some memorabilia in aid of Bowel Cancer UK throughout the tour.

He said: “The fact is we need to get the message out to people to be aware of how important it is to do the screening test when it comes in the post.

“Men are more stubborn and less likely to take their screening test, so I want to spread this message out to people, so they can know how serious it is. The quicker it’s caught the better.”

Luke Squires, director of fundraising at Bowel Cancer UK, said: “We’re so grateful that Michael is donating the proceeds of his book sales to the charity and holding these fundraising events.

“It’s only because of people like Michael supporting the charity we can continue to save lives and improve the quality of life of everyone affected by bowel cancer.”