Wigan Athletic midfield ace Ryan Taylor has opened his heart to the Wigan Observer – and revealed how Steve Bruce has rescued his Latics career.
In a brutally honest and frank interview, the 23-year-old has lifted the lid on:
His nightmare working under Chris Hutchings.
His bid to quit Latics and go out on loan.
The dramatic turnaround in his fortunes since Bruce took over.
Wigan's battle playing on the "second-worst" pitch in the football league.
Latics' Mr Versatile has started every game he's been available for since Bruce took over last month.
Taylor admits he was living under a dark cloud during the brief reign of his predecessor Hutchings, who froze him out of the picture – giving him just an eight minute run-out during his 12 games in the hot-seat.
Taylor told the Observer: "It was hard for me when Chris Hutchings was in charge.
"I don't know what it was with him, but he never spoke a word to me.
"It just shows now that you get a good manager, who has faith in you, that it brings out the best in you.
"I don't think Chris had that faith in me. I don't know why. Maybe it was because I was one of Paul Jewell's signings. I think Chris just wanted to play his own signings.
"He knew all about me, but he signed players and left me out week by week.
"It was really frustrating. It was a blessing in disguise for me when Chris left.
"Obviously it's not nice when someone loses their job. But it's worked in my favour."
The Liverpudlian even looked into the possibility of seeking a move, which could have spelt the end of his top-flight career.
"I was trying to go out on loan – I wanted to do anything just so I could play football," he says.
"I didn't want to train all week and then not be involved.
"It never got that close that I'd go out on loan. I just wanted to get a game somewhere."
Hutchings' promotion up the ranks to succeed Jewell was met with a reaction by some as a high school supply teacher holding the fort.
Taylor said: "It was like that yeah. I don't really know what it was like to play under him because I only made one substitute appearance under him in the last few minutes against Liverpool.
"As soon as Chris left after we lost to Chelsea I was in the side at Tottenham the following week.
"I wasn't well when we travelled to Arsenal in the next game. But since Chris has left I've only missed three games. Two of those were a couple of weeks ago against Derby and Everton after I did my ankle ligaments at Sunderland."
Bruce's arrival couldn't have come quick enough for Taylor – even though the right-back is being used as a left winger.
"Thankfully the new gaffer now has obviously seen something in me that he likes," he said. "He is top class with me and has given me a chance.
"I've wanted to show him that I'm good enough to stay in the team.
"The gaffer is not one of those managers who never talks to his players.
"He always joins in during training. He will pull you to one said and say stuff one on one.
"His office door is always open if you need to go and talk to him.
"I like training and now I look forward to coming in every day.
"We've got a good set of lads and training is enjoyable with Frank Barlow and Eric Black.
"It's completely different here now. It's like my first season here when Paul Jewell was in charge. I'm enjoying it as much now as I was back then.
"I can't be that bad if I'm keeping a 5m player, in Jason Koumas, on the bench!
"As soon as the opposition see number two is playing on the left wing they know I'm right footed. But it can work in my favour cutting in from that side. I'm quite versatile and that's helping me."
Taylor join Latics from Tranmere in July 2005 for 1.25m. But he's only made 42 appearances, including 21 league starts.
"I'm the longest serving outfield player here," he says. "Mike Pollitt came here just two weeks before me. I'd like to think I am an established player now. But if you look at my appearances after two-and-a-half years it's not many.
"I would have liked to have played double the amount of games. I've had a lot of injuries, though.
"I'd like to think my injuries are over. It must be something about Wigan – I was never injured before I came here. It will take me another few weeks to get back to how I was and be fully fit again."
While Taylor is beaming under his new boss, he's not so happy about the eight remaining league games at the JJB.
He said: "The pitch is an absolute disgrace.
"It's one of the worst in the whole of the football league. I think only Bristol Rovers have got a pitch worse than ours.
"Honestly, you have to concentrate so much when you've got the ball. As soon as you touch it the ball bounces away and there's a player on you – it's embarrassing.
"Teams won't look forward to coming and playing on it. It's not a surface to play football on. I suppose we should be more used to it than other teams.
"The rugby season starts in two weeks – just wait to see what it looks like in three weeks. It will get twice as bad when the rugby lads get on it. A normal back pass makes you think 'whoops, where's it going to go?'
"It's 50/50 once you get out there and play. But our squad is a lot better than eight other teams in the league so I don't see us having a problem."