Matty Taylor: What has first Bristol Rovers player to cross divide to Bristol City for 30 years done since?

Matt Taylor almost made time stand still when he made the shock move to Bristol City from Bristol Rovers back in 2017.

After around three years with the Gas, Taylor moved across the Bristol divide, becoming the first Rovers player in 30 years to do so, with Trevor Morgan the last to do it in 1987.

As you would expect, the move was met with intense criticism, and then Bristol City boss Lee Johnson even had to move house to threats on the back of making the move happen.

But what has happened since? Was Taylor’s move a success? Was it worth all the criticism?

Here we take a look at what has happened since Taylor did the unthinkable in crossing the sacred divide:

A fast start

Taylor made his debut for the Robins on February 11, 2017, against Derby County, and he didn’t disappoint.

Within 14 minutes he was on the scoresheet, and he played a key role in an entertaining 3-3 draw.

He would only score six more league goals after that point, but he did play a key role in reaching the EFL Cup semi-finals in 2017, netting against Stoke City and Crystal Palace on the way.

Oxford spell

Taylor went on to make 33 league appearances in the 2018/19 season, but after four goals and six assists, he was shipped out on loan to Oxford United at the start of the following campaign.

During his time at Oxford, and indeed back in League One, Taylor returned to his prolific self, scoring 18 goals and playing in every one of the 46 league games during the 2020/21 season.

He also scored in the play-offs as Oxford just missed out on promotion to the Championship.

Return to Oxford and recent fortunes

Taylor was snapped up permanently by Oxford ahead of this season, joining on a free transfer.

Since then, he has enjoyed another fine campaign, scoring 14 goals and assisting four in 30 appearances so far.

Oxford are once again vying for a play-off spot, currently seventh just goal difference behind Plymouth in sixth, though they have played a couple of games more.

Was it all worth it?

Taylor’s Bristol City move probably didn’t work out as well as he would have hoped, but he enjoyed a respectable spell at Ashton Gate.

He then had the chance to return to League One at a club challenging for promotion, and he has likely found his level as one of the better strikers in the third tier.

By contrast, things have gone downhill for Bristol Rovers, who are now in League Two.

Taylor may have lost friends in Bristol, or at least in the blue half, but ultimately he managed to make a good decision for his career as a whole, and he is still only 31.