Leeds United fan who learnt to walk and talk again will leave hospital in football shirt after family said goodbye four times

A 'football mad' Leeds United fan is set to leave hospital in his beloved Leeds shirt after his family had been called into the hospital four times to say their goodbyes.

Monday, 22nd March 2021, 11:45 am
Phil Taylor will leave hospital in his Leeds United football shirt after learning to walk and talk again (photos: Shell Taylor)

When Phil Taylor met wife Shell 33 years ago, he was a 'massive football fan' but never had a specific team that he supported.

Shell's dad was from Yorkshire and she had grown up as a Leeds United fan, so it soon became apparent that their relationship with football was 'Leeds or nothing'.

The pair married in 1991, and have been faced with battling with Phil's health ever since - most recently, the bursting of a brain aneurysm which forced Shell to say goodbye to her husband four different times.

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Phil and Shell's dog is a Leeds United fan

But, beating all odds, 'amazing' Phil has learnt to walk and talk again and will come out of hospital on Monday afternoon in his Leeds United shirt after having 'asked about Leeds more than his family' while he was in there.

Shell, who lives in Devon, said: "In November 2020, Phil had a very large aneurysm in his aorta and when that was operated on, it led to his brain bleeding.

"He was sitting in our front room absolutely fine and all of a sudden I heard the most horrendous scream ever.

"When I got to Phil he wasn't breathing and I had to give him CPR until the paramedics arrived and shocked him.

Phil's name is on a plaque at Elland Road

"They took him to Derriford Hospital and for seven days he was too poorly for them to operate and stop his brain from bleeding.

"When he did come through, he had a massive stroke and four times, myself and our two children were called in to say goodbye to him.

"When we were allowed to say goodbye, it was only for 15 minutes because of Covid and it was just absolutely awful.

"The worst was on Christmas Day when I got a call to say he wasn't going to make it through the night, but I wasn't allowed to see him.

"I was told that if he was still alive on Boxing Day I was allowed to go in on my own, without my kids, for 10 minutes to say goodbye.

"So I did, and since then he's gone from strength to strength."

Phil has previously had kidney failure, a kidney transplant, another brain aneurysm, a pancreatic tumour and meningitis and six years ago he had his pancreas, gallbladder, small intestine and some of his stomach removed.

Shell added: "Phil was transferred to a neuro-rehabilitation centre in Plymouth and since then he has just been amazing.

"We didn't expect him to come out of there at all and we thought that would be a permanent home for him from now on, but instead he's learnt to walk and talk again.

"He uses a walker and his speech is muddled and confused but he is talking, and talking about Leeds United mainly.

"The doctors and nurses have told me he asks about how Leeds United are doing more than how his family are and he's asked me to take his football shirt to the hospital so when he leaves he can do so with the football shirt on his back.

"To be fair our relationship has been Leeds or nothing since it began, and even our dog is a fan."

Shell's dad was a lifelong Leeds United season ticket holder, and although living in Devon, the family have a base in Skipton for Leeds games - to which Shell says 'talk about football mad'.

She has also launched an appeal on Twitter to try and get a 'well done' video for Phil from the football team, but has not had any luck with her plea as of yet despite thousands of likes and hundreds of retweets.

The mum-of-two tweeted: "On 22/3/21 my husband will be coming home in his LEEDS shirt after 4 months in hospital, a ruptured brain aneurysm and massive stroke, 4 times we were told to say goodbye to him, He's learnt to walk and talk again, any chance of a well done from the lads.. Please MOT."

Shell said: "Phil is an amazing person and I hope his story gives a glimmer of hope to others who are out there and struggling.

"Everything has been about Covid recently, and I'm not taking anything away from that but there are other people out there with other illnesses.

"Phil is always happy, always smiling, he's an amazing person and I just can't wait to get him home.

"It's been one thing after another with him but the day everything opens up and we can go back into that Leeds United ground, my god I can't wait to see the look on his face."