Taylor, 75, has been in charge of the players union for an astonishing 39 years, but believes the current battle to protect players pay in the middle of the coronavirus crisis is amongst the toughest he has ever faced. And on Tuesday night, Taylor called for the television companies, to whom the Premier League could end up owing more than £750 million if the season does not finish, to show flexibility as the game struggles to get back on its feet.
Taylor himself has come in for fierce criticism for his handling of the dispute, which has seen players rebelling against 30 per cent across the board pay cut proposed by the Premier League, which he too has firmly opposed – and for not taking a pay cut from his £2 millions year salary himself.
It was though revealed that Taylor had made a £500,000 donation to the players charity which Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson has helped to set up.
Taylor has faced several potential strike situations with players before in his role at the PFA, but he admitted on Tuesday night: “I’ve had quite a few challenges down the years – but this one is unique.
“It has to be the toughest challenge I’ve faced, because we have to treat it with the utmost seriousness, considering all the mental health problems occurring and loss of life.
“We can make a difference, but the entire football family needs to work together to help people get through this.
“The players know they have obligations. But they feel they’ve been backed into a corner. They want to do what is right and what is best. All the players want to contribute but there are different circumstances for different players.”
Twice in his reign players have come close to across the board strike action before, in 1992 and 2001, each time the disputes being settled. England players came close to striking in 2003, and last year both Bolton and Macclesfield players struck.
Taylor wants the television companies to be flexible as football plans to get going again, with clubs facing a potential £750m fine from broadcasters if the season does not finish.