BY EDMUND BRACK
Quade Taylor has credited Dulwich Hamlet, former boss Gavin Rose and his coaching staff for allowing him to rediscover his love for the game after battling a gambling addiction.
The 29-year-old, born in Tooting, came through Dulwich’s academy and was handed his debut by Rose at the age of 16 before being snapped up by Crystal Palace, where he spent a handful of seasons before leaving to join Bolton Wanderers.
Tooting-born Taylor made his professional debut in a 1-0 defeat to Birmingham in the Championship.
After being released by Bolton, followed by a spell at Braintree Town, where he failed to make an appearance, Taylor took a break from the sport in 2016 as a 22-year-old.
“I was up north for two years – it was a great experience – but due to my personal problems off the field I lost my appetite for football – I was done,” Taylor told the South London Press. “I was battling stuff off the pitch – gambling.
“If it had not been for Gavin, Kads [Junior Kadi] and Kevin James at the time, I would have easily given up, and I don’t know what I would be doing now. They stuck by me and helped me more than anyone actually knows, just by talking and supporting me.
“From there, I rediscovered my love for the game. I felt at home at Dulwich and felt comfortable to be able to do what I do.”
Taylor has almost reached two years without placing a bet, citing in an interview on Dulwich’s YouTube channel that the birth of his daughter was one of the turning points in his battle.
“My worst was at Bolton,” said Taylor, who bet on horses and went to casinos. “It became addictive. Especially in Bolton – you can get to a casino within five minutes. It’s a small town.
“But even at Crystal Palace, adapting to having so much free time and having more money than you’re used to having – it was just filling the gap in the day.”
The defender has recently called time on his second spell at Champion Hill following Dulwich’s relegation from National League South.
Taylor has made 238 appearances for the club and was a crucial part of the side that won promotion from the Isthmian Premier League.
“It’s something I have known for a couple of months,” Taylor explained of his decision to leave.
“With the changes that have happened at the club, it felt like the right time to try something new to see if I can get back to enjoying the game.
“The club epitomises everything I stand for. The off-the-field work and the people behind the scenes do so much but don’t get the credit they deserve for keeping everything going. I was there from the age of 16, and to see where the club has grown since then, and now leaving at 29, is amazing. I don’t have a bad word to say about the club – it’s a great place.
“Since the new management came in, they’re great and do things in certain ways which work but we were probably going in different directions in terms of how they want to do things and how I like to do things.
“It was a decision which had to be made.”
Dulwich finished in the final relegation spot in National League South and were demoted on goal difference after a 1-0 defeat at home to Chippenham Town on the final day of the season.
The South Londoners went through three different managers during the course of the season, with long-serving boss Rose departing at the start of the campaign after 13 years of service.
“It was tough, and for me, it matters – the club means something to me,” said Taylor.
“The people who worked at the club behind the scenes deserved a lot better than what we gave them as a team.
“It’s something that has been pending for a while with the club – we have flirted with relegation for a few years in that league. We weren’t able to get out of that scrap.”
The defender has already joined Carshalton Athletic, linking up with former Dulwich midfielder Peter Adeniyi, who is boss at Colston Avenue.
“It was a tough decision,” said Taylor. “I have always wanted to stay at Dulwich as long as possible. If that was until I retired, that was the ideal situation, no matter what league we were in. This was just the right time to try something new.
“A key part of that was Peter. He was at Dulwich and I knew him outside of football – it made my decision 10 times easier already.
“What he wants is exactly what I want, and the style of play he wants to play suits me. Hopefully, we can build something down there and be successful.”
PICTURES: ROB AVIS
Subscribe to Blog via Email
Everyone at the South London Press thanks you for your continued support.
Former Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing:
“A free country needs a free press, and the newspapers of our country are under significant financial pressure”.
If you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can make a donation which will allow us to continue to bring stories to you, both in print and online. Or, please make cheques payable to “MSI Media Limited” and send by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ