Andrew Warshaw speaks to new Towners signing Taylor McKenzie after he returned from rivals Cheshunt
It isn’t every day that a non-league footballer remains at the same club for over five years, becomes captain, then moves to his closest rival and plays his very first game against his previous club!
Understandably therefore, Taylor McKenzie admits it wasn’t an easy decision when an offer came in just before Christmas to join Enfield Town – make that rejoin – from Cheshunt just up the A10 where he was almost part of the furniture.
An experienced, physically-imposing defender, Taylor played 35 games for Town during the 2017/18 campaign and remembers his time there fondly. But he agonised over whether to go back having helped Cheshunt to two promotions – ironically one of them at Enfield’s expense – and one relegation.
But non-league players are just as ambitious as those higher up the pyramid and with Enfield on course for the play-offs, Taylor just had a hunch he made the right call. “The timing probably wasn’t the best given that my first game just happened to be away against my old club,” he told the Dispatch. “But I probably only have a few years left in the bank and I saw this as a great opportunity.
“I wasn’t really thinking of moving but it made a big difference that I already knew some of the Enfield players. Sometimes you have to be a little bit selfish and look after number one. And that means another push for success.
“It hurts to hear some of the things that came out of Cheshunt but over time, hopefully they will see my side of it. You very rarely get players in non-league who stay in one place as long as I did. Of course it shows loyalty but sometimes you can get complacent and I felt it was right to step out of my comfort zone.”
Although Enfield Town are a very different club in terms of personnel from his first spell, the fanbase remains just as strong – if not stronger.
“It’s renowned all over non-league,” said Taylor. “Enfield have always had a reputation for a loud following. Not only that, I believe fan-owned clubs are the way forward. It’s like a mini-democracy, especially at a non-league club that is so much part of the community.”
Having played professionally with Notts County – his debut as a 17-year-old is very much the highlight of his career – you might wonder why Taylor, an accountant with an advertising company, is satisfied performing at step three of the non-league pyramid.
“You know what? I’m kind of glad I fell out of the pro game when I did, at an early age. Make no mistake, the tumble in football can be very steep if you don’t have a plan B. Luckily, I’ve managed to land on my feet and the camaraderie in non-league football is second to none.”