Taylor joins ambitious Stevenage

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The Independent Football

Stevenage Borough announced the coup of the non-league season yesterday when they appointed Peter Taylor as their new manager. It is believed that Taylor, 54, who was sacked by Crystal Palace last month, will become the highest-paid boss in the Conference – now the Blue Square Premier – after signing a deal until the end of the 2008-09 season thought to be worth more than £100,000 a year.

An Independent survey of managers in 2005 showed a typical basic salary to be £200,000 in the Championship, £80,000 in League One and £55,000 in League Two, but there have always been exceptional clubs, even in the non-league, willing and able to fund star acquisitions.

Taylor replaces Mark Stimson, who resigned a fortnight ago and was yesterday named as the new manager of Gillingham. One source close to Gillingham said last night that they wanted Taylor as their new manager, but he did not want the job because he wanted to fill either the vacancy at Norwich – but no offer was forthcoming – or find another club where he could bolster a reputation dented, albeit slightly, by Palace's poor form.

Stevenage are fourth in the Conference table, six points behind leaders Torquay and well-placed for a play-off place, at least, in their quest for League football. Their chairman, Phil Wallace, said: "This shows our desire to compete for promotion this season and next. This is breathtaking news for the town of Stevenage."

Taylor has managed in non-league before, with Dartford and with Dover Athletic. He has also managed Southend, Gillingham and Leicester, but his greatest achievements have been arguably with young players (as England Under-21 manager) and with unfashionable clubs on the up, notably Brighton then Hull City. In his one game as the caretaker manager of the senior England team, against Italy in Turin in November 2000, he handed David Beckham the England captaincy for the first time.

"It doesn't bother me what level I work at," said Taylor, a friend of Stevenage's chief executive, Bob Makin, yesterday. "I've been out of a job for three weeks and the most important thing for me was to get working. This appealed to me."