Taylor: Sir Bobby a Father Figure for Every Player
Monday, 17th Apr 2017 06:15
Town’s decision to label today’s league clash with Newcastle as Sir Bobby Robson Day – the legendary manager served both clubs with distinction – meets with the approval of Steven Taylor.
The experienced defender spent 14 years on the playing staff at St James’ Park and got to know Robson well and since arriving in Suffolk in January he has learned of his enormous impact in this part of the world.
Taylor said: “I was 16 and had just left school when he brought me straight into the reserves and missed out the academy. He had me training with the likes of Alan Shearer and getting battered day in, day out, by someone like him was good.
“I enjoyed that as a young kid because it toughens you up being around the older heads.
“Bobby was always for having a core of experienced players in his side. He had an aura about him. I remember going into his office a few times absolutely fuming and when I came out he had his arm around me and I’m thinking ‘How’s he done that?’ I couldn’t get my words out. I’d just look at him and couldn’t say what I wanted to say.
“He always knew how you were and how to handle you. His man-management was a kind of tool that he had with big players and big egos at the time. You’ve just got to speak to Titus [Bramble] and Kieron [Dyer] to see the respect that everybody had for him.
“He was like a father figure for every player. At half-time and after games when the team wasn’t doing well there was only total respect from everyone towards Bobby and I haven’t seen that since then to be fair.”
Asked about any stand-out memories of the great man, Taylor added: “There’s stuff that happened behind closed doors and one day I’ll reveal all. The one word to describe him is legend. I see him up and down the corridors here – Bobby Robson everywhere – and the fans will never forget him, which is only right after what he achieved.”
Robson’s reign on Tyneside started with an 8-0 home win over Sheffield Wednesday and they twice qualified for the Champions League, as well as reaching the semi-final stage of the UEFA Cup, before he was surprisingly sacked after almost exactly five years in charge.
Asked what he thought of then chairman Freddie Shepherd’s decision, Taylor replied: “You’d have to ask Freddie. We didn’t know what was going on at the time. But we finished fifth in his last season and what would they give to finish fifth now?
“I was just a young player and you keep your nose out of it and get on with it. Unfortunately that’s what happens in football. Look at Claudio Ranieri – he wins the league and the next year he gets sacked. As players we have to get the results out on the pitch and if not we’re out of a job too.”
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