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In one of the transfer deadline day’s more unusual moves a former non-league footballer, who has served a drugs ban, has joined Belgian club Charleroi. Playmaker Paul Taylor, who signed an 18-month deal with Anderlecht this month, has been sent on loan for the rest of the season by the Belgian team.

A former Vauxhall Motors player, the 22-year-old Taylor served a six-month ban after testing positive for cocaine. He was snapped up by Anderlecht after playing for Belgian side Montegnee. After signing for Anderlecht, the Belgian club’s manager Herman van Holsbeeck said: “It’s a unique story. “We regularly sent scouts to Montegnee’s matches.

The reports were always favourable. “There was one sentence in the scouting report that stuck in my mind: ‘Taylor is the Milan Jovanovic of Montegnee’,” a reference to the Standard Liege star who has been linked with a move to Liverpool.

Taylor told the Anderlecht website: “When I was 15, I stopped playing football for three years owing to circumstances. “I was young and was not thinking. But at Montegnee, I switched over. I want to show Anderlecht that I can make it to the first team.” Anderlecht top the Jupiler League, while Charleroi are just above the relegation zone.

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Paul Taylor has been told to realise his potential and force his way into Royal Sporting Club Anderlecht’s first team by manager Herman Van Holsbeeck.

The 22-year-old former Chester City striker completed the paperwork for his January transfer to the Belgian league leaders before Christmas and Van Holsbeeck immediately threw down the gauntlet to the mercurial forward. “

I have already had text messages from first and second division clubs offering to take him on loan and that is an option,” he told Belgian paper Het Nieuwsblad.

“But the intention is that he starts showing what he can do. We will give him half a chance and he must show us he is good enough.”

Taylor has signed an 18-month contract with an option for a further year – but 12 months ago a move to a top continental club seemed like an impossible dream.

He was licking his wounds after failing to turn up for a number of games while on loan from Motors at Chester City and failing a drugs test at the Blues’ training ground.

The discovery of cocaine in the playmaker’s system called time on his loan and scuppered a permanent deal in the transfer window.

He was subsequently banned from football for six months before returning thanks to an opportunity to play for provincial Belgian club Royal Racing Montegnée.

And Anderlecht moved for his services after just half-a-season after glowing reports from scouts. “We regularly sent scouts to Montegnée,” said Van Holsbeeck.

“There was one sentence in the reports that stuck in my mind: ‘Taylor is the Milan Jovanovic of Montegnée’.” Such lofty praise is evidence Taylor has turned his life around since grasping his third chance at a professional career in the game.

After a three-year-break having left Manchester City’s academy, Taylor signed for Vauxhall in 2007, scoring 17 goals before his ill-fated move to the Deva. “I admit in my early years I made some mistakes,” Taylor said.

“The cocaine thing was stupid. It was my 21st birthday and I was with friends. It was only one night but it was a mistake and you learn from your mistakes. “I want to show what I’m worth and will work hard to prove myself to Anderlecht.”

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Paul Taylor

Former Chester City striker Paul Taylor

Former Chester City and Vauxhall Motors striker Paul Taylor will make an astonishing move to Belgian giants Anderlecht in January.

Taylor, 22, born in Liverpool and a former Manchester City trainee honed his skills at Vauxhall, scoring 17 goals in their 2007-08 campaign in the Blue Square North. His good goal scoring record attracted many admirers and eventually Chester City, then in League Two, signed him initially on loan with a view to a permanent transfer worth a five figure sum.

Taylor’s career then hit the rocks when he failed a drugs test whilst at Chester. The striker’s sample had traces of cocaine in it. Chester released him and he was given a six month playing ban.

When his six month’s were up Taylor made a surprising career move. He signed for R.R.F.C. Montegnée – a former Bradford City feeder team – who play in Belgium’s 5th division. Their new English manager Paul Topping had heard about Taylor and decided to snap him up. He became the club’s top scorer and his class clearly shone through.

In late November the Belgian press began to report that several Belgian First Division clubs, including Standard Liège and Anderlecht had shown an interest in Taylor. Taylor spent a few days on trial at both clubs and now Anderlecht have confirmed that Taylor will be joining them on January 1st.

So it looks like Taylor – who has always had bags of ability – has finally put his demons behind him. And when he is playing for Anderlecht in the Europa League, those cold nights at Rivacre Park will seem a long time ago.

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According to the local press,  Vauxhall Motors chairman Alan Bartlam has blasted Football Conference chiefs after they refused to make Chester City pay up for Paul Taylor.

Striker Taylor was part-way through a six-month loan from Motors to Chester when he failed a random drugs test on October 6 last year.

Traces of cocaine were found in the 21-year-old’s urine sample and he never played for the Blues again after the results of the test became known on October 31.

An undisclosed loan fee for Taylor’s services had previously been agreed between the clubs and Bartlam claims City should stump up what they owe until January 1, 2009 – the date the deal expired.

But the Conference have ruled that Vauxhall are only entitled to payment up until October 6, 2008 – the date of Taylor’s failed drugs test.

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