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A Conversation with Ken Taylor
An extract from 'Over the Bar' 1972 edition.
Elsewhere in this issue ('Over the Bar' 1972 edition) there is reference to the problem of interesting new players sufficiently so that they become established as part of the club, the importance of this to the club is obvious. Another factor however which seems to be of vital importance to the smooth functioning and consistency of a rugby club is ample, keen and wise older members willing to do work, either of committee or physical varieties. It seems to me there is a link between these two matters. If one could find the reason that makes members have sufficient interest in the club to continue active participation we might have part of the solution to holding the interest of new players.
The idea then, was to find someone possibly typical or at least representative of the ‘old breed’ to chat with on the subject. The ideal person seemed to be G. K. Taylor who has probably done as much as anyone for the club in the last 30 years or more, although willing to do so much for the club he was a rather reticent subject for pen portrait.
To come straight to the point I should state I did not find the answer to the question posed, indeed I found few clues to a solution unless it is that everybody wants to get something slightly different for a rugby club. The conversation however was enlightening in other ways.
Ken Taylor is an individual character, so much so that to attempt to classify him as ‘typical’, as I had been, is doing him an injustice. This individual shows itself in a number of ways for instance, he admits to watching rugby infrequently rather one feels he prefers active participation in activities. Also he gave up teaching over twenty years ago to live more on his own resources and even today is proud that he works on a commission basis – for a famous Canadian Assurance Company.
It was at the time that he gave up teaching, 1950, that he became secretary of the club, a post he held for seven busy years – these seven years were the period when Worcester R.F.C. purchased and moved to the present ground. (The sum the ground was purchased for then, is staggering when considering what it could fetch now.) Ken’s business acumen is proving of great use again in the proposed move to a new ground as he is Acting-Chairman of the New Ground Sub-Committee. It also proves very useful in general committee affairs because who he doesn’t know, contacts at the Golf Club, Conservative Club and Swan Theatre, just to name a few aint worth knowing. In G.P. Committee he displays the knack of knowing just when to speak and what he has to say is relevant, clear and often humorous.
When asked whether he will be sorry if the club move from Bevere he shows no sentimental attachment but says simply it would be a move for something better. The only hint of disappointment about the club premises is that he feels they could be used more and presumably hopes new premises would be.
This year of ‘getting more out of it’ and willingness for new things is probably what makes Ken tick, he is no cabbage (dislikes gardening) but full of life, has a social diary to be envious of and played cricket until he was fifty. He just does not know why he has done, and continues to do, so much for the club, simply that he wants to get the most out of life and believes this is achieved in no small measure by meeting different people. He has no regrets at giving up teaching if only because of the opportunities his work has given him to meet a wide assortment of folk. He has a tremendous ability for getting on with most people, young and old (female and male) and yet retains a certain twinkle in the eye that doesn’t give anything away.
Whilst keen for change Ken appreciates and understands that it is usually more difficult to keep things going than to let them drop. By this I mean the temptation to ‘Jack it in’ is there. A small example of this type of traditional institution is the bar rota that appears to function without any effort at the club. This was a Taylor innovation that one feels would be very difficult to set in motion again if it collapsed. Players who have played away will appreciate the quick service on Saturday afternoons, without having to do the stint behind the bar which players in many other clubs have to do.
On other issues Ken's views are forthright and are in accord with his pragmatic, no snobbishness character. He does not really believe the ‘them and us’ situation in the club exists, would wish to see no favouritism and complete fairness throughout the club in all matters (special mention to selection here) and has high and special praise for Dave Robin’s captaincy.
To return again to the old days it was interesting to hear, and this possibly accounts for Ken’s particular interest in club facilities, of the different set up in those old days when few clubs had premises of their own and were working hard to provide them. Due to lack of premises, pub crawling was the order of the day after matches often one couldn’t get a drink until opening time and less social contact was possible with the opposition.
Ken says "In thinking about the Club and my associations with it, especially in connection with my playing days, the following names occur to me for a great variety of reasons, many of whom are not often remembered enough: Jervis Foulds, Percy Daniel, Ken Bradford, Jack Roberts, John Jenkins, Bernard Higgins, Charlie Inch, Basil Trump, Ernie Jackson, R.J.R. Clapp, Glen Jones, W.J. Johnston, G.V. Chadney, John Brittlebank, George Watson, Godfrey Ovens, Tim Shaw, Sandy Dick, Joe Pearson, Fred Clive and Jock Neilson."
Editor: Ian Hutchinson (A Conversation with Ken Taylor is an extract from ‘Over the Bar’ 1972 edition).
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