ELIJAH Taylor has seen more than enough to know not to be massively upset about what is happening to Salford on the pitch.
Try letting your ‘father figure’ fool you into £200,000, trying to live off a car as a kid because your family couldn’t pay the bills.
The Red Devils star is one of the leaders of a club where it seems that staying afloat is a priority.
A looming sale of the AJ Bell stadium means the rent will be prohibitively expensive, meaning a ‘stadium swap’ in 2024 with footballing neighbors Salford City.
The move home has similarities to what Taylor experienced growing up in New Zealand.
He remembers: “When I was 12 or 13 years old, we lived in a car for a while. It was just bills and Dad was trying to find a job while the bills kept mounting.
“We were five brothers and we didn’t have much at home. Dad was always away, so an older brother had to take care of us.
“My brothers stayed with a friend, then we found an old shed on a family’s land and we moved into it. It was crazy.
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“But that tough childhood taught me a lot from a young age. Going through these adversities matures you faster.
“It was tough at the time, but looking back I’m grateful. If I had grown up and been given everything, there is no way I would play rugby and I think that makes me much better at handling things.
“A lot depends on how you grew up. If I had to say something, my old man made me say it, but I know a lot of players who are the complete opposite.
“I’ve seen a lot of problems over the years. I’ve seen players wanting or wanting to talk about mental health and those who didn’t know who to talk to.
“We are humans. We play a gladiator sport out there, but everyone has pressure off the field. There are bound to be some mental cracks.”
Taylor, 32, made it into rugby league and lived comfortably while manager turned father figure – his birth father died – Ian Miles looked after his money.
Little did he know that the man he trusted would cheat him out of hundreds of thousands of pounds and declare himself bankrupt in a four-year legal battle and prevent the money from being returned.
That meant a move to Salford amid Covid-19 restrictions, but as the Super League tackle mental health in their ‘Tackle The Tough Stuff’ round, he sees the benefits of being on the other side of the world from home to be.
Taylor, who previously told SunSport about the court case, added ahead of today’s clash with Castleford: “Honestly it’s been for the best for me.
“This trial was like a cloud over my head for four years. When the opportunity came up I jumped at it because it was something different and at Salford it’s about making the most of what you have.
“I spoke to Brodie Croft who was in Brisbane. They have a brand new facility, money, a good team on paper, the players have cars but they almost got the cooking spoon.
“It shows that you can have everything, but without a team culture you have nothing.
“I’m grateful to be at Salford. We may not have a lot, but we have a team of guys who are willing to put their heart and soul into the shirt.”
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/5381984/elijah-taylor-salford-debt-homelessness-new-zealand/ Elijah Taylor reveals childhood struggles