Neil Taylor thanks Swansea City fans after Liberty exit

1st February 2017
First team

Neil Taylor has said thank you to the fans after leaving Swansea City - and tipped the club to go from strength to strength under Paul Clement.

Taylor has joined Aston Villa as part of an exchange deal involving Jordan Ayew, bringing to an end an impressive seven-year stint as a Swan.

The Welsh international arrived at the Liberty from non-league side Wrexham back in 2010.

Having helped the Swans win promotion to the Premier League in his first season at the club, Taylor quickly established himself as a regular in the top flight.

In all the left-back racked up 179 Swans appearances, and he admits it is not easy to say goodbye.

"I have a great affinity with the club after seven great years and of course it's difficult to leave," Taylor said.

"Swansea has been my home. My kids were born in the city and my family has grown there.

"And on the pitch, I feel very privileged to have been part of the most successful years in the club's history having come from non-league football.

"I would like to thank the fans for all the support they have given me, and for the welcome they gave to my family.

"We have loved every minute of living in the city. It's a beautiful part of the world and my family will definitely be visiting in the future."

Taylor was robbed of the chance to feature in the Swans' play-off final triumph of 2011 after being harshly sent off in the semi-final at Nottingham Forest.

And he was also unfortunate to miss out on the Capital One Cup success of 2013 after shattering his ankle in a typically wholehearted challenge earlier that season.

But Taylor has nevertheless been part of some of the most memorable victories in the Swans' history.

"It is not easy to pick a highlight, but that first year in the Premier League was a special time," he said.

"It was new to us all and you could see businesses thriving and the city growing.

"The club really grew and we had some great wins that season against the likes of Arsenal and Manchester City.

"We played some great football under Brendan Rodgers and that was the season where the club was really put on the map. It was great seeing the adulation on people's faces in that period."

The Swans have so far struggled through much of 2016-17, but Taylor has seen enough of Clement to believe that there are better times ahead.

"I can genuinely say that by appointing Paul, the club have definitely got it right," he said.

"I have seen a change in the short time he and his staff have been at the club and I see Swansea staying up for sure.

"I met Paul this week and told him that I believe the club will be absolutely fine with him in charge. Given my affiliation with Swansea, I will be delighted if that is the case, of course."

Though he is dropping down a division to play for Villa, Taylor is optimistic that his new employers will soon be back among the elite.

"Villa are a massive club and it's an exciting time to join them," he continued.

"There has been a change of management and a big turnaround of players, and the idea is to get back into the Premier League.

"I had two-and-a-half years on my contract at Swansea and I could have stayed there, but I felt this was the right time for me to take on a new challenge.

"It's not a decision I have taken lightly, but I have thought about it and I feel this is the right move for me."