FORMER Cherries and Poole Town player, Rodney Taylor, has died at the age of 71.

Bournemouth-born, Michael Rodney Taylor, was the son of Leslie and Vera Taylor and lived in Dorchester Road, Oakdale, Poole, as a child attending Stanley Green and then Henry Harbin schools.

"He played football for his school and county before moving on to play either in the first team, or reserves, for Bournemouth and Boscombe Athletic Football Club during the mid-sixties," said his son Steve Taylor.

The versatile left-half started out with Portsmouth FC under Freddie Cox and was reunited with his manager when he signed for Bournemouth in February 1966, making 30 appearances for the club before joining Poole Town 18 months later when Eric Webber was manager. He also played and captained Christchurch FC followed by Ringwood and Bournemouth Poppies.

"At school Rod excelled in mechanical and engineering subjects and completed an apprenticeship at Birds on Fleets Lane in Poole. He also went to college to train as a draughtsman and joined a company called VSI Automation who had offices in Stanley Green Road and Factory Road, Poole. Eventually, he ran and owned the company and its subsidiaries with a workforce of around 30 people in its hey-day," said Steve.

Rod married Jacqueline Cross at Christchurch Priory in 1969 and they had two children, Karen in 1973 and Steve two years later. The family moved to Broadstone the same year.

His grandson, Jack Dunn, now regularly plays football and has played for both AFC Bournemouth and Chelsea clubs in their youth capacity before focusing on his county team nearer his home in North Hampshire.

"In later life Rod's interest in football never wavered and most recently he had been the Facilities Director at Poole Town FC. In 2009 and 2010 the club won the Wessex Premier League Championship but were prevented from securing promotion because the ground at Stanley Green Road was not enclosed.

"The following year, and on the verge of a third successive league title, and with only 24 days to enclose the ground, he managed to obtain agreements from the local authority and Poole High School. He mirrored this success two years later when the club was promoted to the Southern Premier League requiring an upgrade of established facilities."

Rod also enjoyed playing skittles and was a member of the Oakdale Conservative Club.

In 2014 he was diagnosed with cancer for the second time and received chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments to combat the disease with members of his family staying with him and his partner, Val, for support. He passed away on September 13 and his funeral was held on September 28 at Poole Crematorium. His ashes were laid to rest with his parents at Broadstone Cemetery.