Just can’t get enough
Last summer when Steve Gallen and Lee Bowyer signed Lyle Taylor they signed more than a footballer.
Taylor had a good goal scoring record in League One and below, but what we got was a man who touched Addicks deeper than what he did with a red shirt on. Now, every football fan loves a player that genuinely takes pride in wearing the shirt and chases every lost cause, but once in a while a player shows up, and you get something more than just what you see on a football pitch.
When Lyle speaks he is not only thoughtful, engaging and erudite, he actually has something to say beyond the regular ‘over the moon’ sound bites. He has an opinion and obviously has a passion about the game, something that he has only ever played below the league’s top two levels.
Yet beyond football, he believes in and champions causes. In October he dyed his hair pink and raised over sixteen grand for Cancer Research UK. A charity close to his heart. He has spoken out against racism, for which he has suffered online. He has been critical of Roland Duchatelet’s stewardship and spoke out in support of his old team mate and friend Karlan Grant’s move to Huddersfield.
By all accounts much that Taylor does off the field goes unnoticed, and with no self-absorption, such as his visit to see Addicks’ legend Betty Huchins this week.
Any thirty something or older Charlton fan who has been on an away travel coach will know Betty. She is part of the fabric of being an Addick, proper Charlton. Sadly Betty has been suffering with ill health for a while, but still follows the club passionately from the Ellenor Hospice in Gravesend.
So who shows up with a smile as wide as the Blackwell tunnel for a cup of tea with her?
I am not ashamed to say, but I had tears in my eyes watching that.
Then last night Lyle Taylor collected the Supporters Player of the Year. It’s been a great season and there were many deserving players, but by a majority Taylor got the vote, and I’m sure not just for what he does on the football pitch.
Lyle, you have made a very lasting impression on us Charlton fans. Thank you for becoming one of us. Let’s get the job done together.