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Exclusive: Joe Taylor Ready to Make Luton Town Step-Up After Lower League Successes

A deep dive into the journey of Luton Town striker Joe Taylor, from pulling pints to becoming a goal machine in League One. After successful loan spells at Colchester United and Lincoln City, the 21-year-old aims to prove himself in the Championship.

Neil Goulding
Neil Goulding

Last Updated: 2024-06-26

Louis Hobbs

8 minutes read

Joe Taylor was pulling pints down his local pub a few years ago – but now the goal-hungry striker has a bright future ahead of him.

The highly rated Luton Town striker dazzled on loan at Colchester United and Lincoln City in League One last season.

Taylor’s Breakthrough Season

He bagged 12 goals for The U’s in the early stages of the season and then impressed with 10 goals for The Imps as they narrowly just missed out on the play-offs towards the back end of the 2023-24 campaign, and this season the ambitious 21-year-old is hoping to earn the right to prove himself in the Championship with the Hatters following their relegation from the Premier League.

“It’s been a bit of a whirlwind these last 18-24 months to be honest,” Taylor told SportsBoom.com.

“It’s been a bit of a mad one, really, but I’ve always been a confident person and believed in my ability, even with the setbacks that I’ve had during my career.”

Image Credits: Luton Town Football Club

Image Credits: Luton Town Football Club

Overcoming Setbacks

“I was a part-time barman and playing football for King’s Lynn reserves.”

“I was released from Norwich City when I was 15 and told that I wasn’t good enough. Then I was released from King’s Lynn (Town) when I was 17.”

“But I’ve always been confident, I’ve always believed that if I get my head down, knuckle down and keep working hard and doing what I’m good at, then eventually someone will take a punt.
“Then it’s about whether I take it (the opportunity) or not.”

Weaker footballers could have quite easily packed it all in after suffering the setbacks he has, but not Taylor.

He balanced working as a barman and rediscovered his love for the game in a season banging in the goals for fun as an amateur for King’s Lynn.

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Promotions and success are why we play football – and if you get them then I owe that all to my family because they’ve stood by me when I didn’t even want to play football anymore.

Joe Taylor

A Turning Point in his Career

Peterborough United took a punt on the hitman in 2021 and, even though his spell with Posh didn’t work out as he’d have liked - he played just 12 games in two season - a move to Luton and Kenilworth Road in 2023 was the catalyst to an incredible turnaround in his fortunes.

In 2023, Taylor scored from the spot as the Hatters famously beat Coventry 6-5 in a dramatic penalty shootout to win promotion to the Premier League, and his goals last season nearly helped the Imps challenge for promotion to the Championship, frustratingly finishing seventh after defeat to Portsmouth on the last day of the season.

“I had my dad dragging me out of the house to go and play football. I owe all my success to them.”

Family Support and Professional Guidance

Taylor is just glad he stuck at it at King’s Lynn level, thanks in large to some expert advice from a string of former professionals.

“I was doing really well there (at King’s Lynn) and I was working with some people who have played at the top level,” recalled Taylor.

“Chris Sutton used to come to all of our games because his son (Ollie) was the goalkeeper, and Darren Huckerby was also there because his son (Tom) was a centre-half.”

“I also got the chance to play with (former Scotland, Norwich, Notts Forest and Aston Villa striker) Grant Holt for a little bit because he was at the club as well. Luckily, I had good people around me offering advice and supporting me.”

“There was Adam Drury on the coaching staff – and he played over 500 games for Norwich.”

“They all told me to keep doing what I was doing, even though I wasn’t playing in the football league.”

“They said ‘if you keep scoring goals, then someone will take a punt because everyone needs a goal scorer’. Thankfully, I did,” he concluded.

Neil Goulding
Neil GouldingSenior Sports Reporter

Neil has been a journalist for longer than he'd care to remember, having written for national newspapers and respected publications for over 25 years. For the last three years he has worked freelance for BBC Sport, working on the production desk as a sub-editor and also as a writer, covering a whole range of sports.