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Taylor: Cup of Tea With the Gaffer at Sunderland? It Never Happened
Monday, 17th Apr 2017 06:00

Steven Taylor has dismissed claims by ex-Sunderland chairman Sir Bob Murray that they met in the Stadium of Light boardroom – along with then Black Cats’ boss Mick McCarthy – to have a cup of tea and discuss the possibility of the player joining them.

But Taylor – who had earlier admitted he enjoyed being a hate figure among Sunderland supporters and described their home city as “a horrible place” – and his representatives have denied that any such meeting took place.

Murray broke his silence last month to insist Taylor, who in 2012 said he “would rather collect stamps than stick on a Sunderland shirt”, had tried to engineer a move to Wearside.

Chairman for 20 years until 2006, he said: “Over the years I have been annoyed by Steven Taylor but I’ve always kept my mouth shut. As for his views about Mackems, I think everyone should know that he wanted to be a part of our great club and wanted to pull on the Sunderland shirt.

“I have never understood his behaviour and what he said about Sunderland because of what I know. But I have had enough now. Everyone needs to know the truth and he needs to stop.”

Murray added: “He came to the boardroom at the Stadium of Light with Mick McCarthy when Mick was manager here. He was under contract with Newcastle, but we were told he wanted a move.

“He had been in touch with Mick and although it was very unusual that I would meet with a player, in this instance Mick asked me if I would meet him.

“I came to the boardroom and sat with him and had a cup of tea. It’s the only time I had met with a player in those circumstances. But we turned him down. At the time, we felt that he was no better than what we already had and so we let him go.”

When asked about Murray’s allegations Taylor said: “It never happened. I think he’s just trying to stir things up. Listen, when I was at Newcastle I’ve had rope and everything sent through the door. I don’t mind, it’s a bit of banter for me. That’s how the rivalry is for them – they have their laugh at me and I have my laugh at them.

“It’s nothing, it’s like tongue-in-cheek at the end of the day. I respect the players they’ve got, 100 per cent, and I respect the manager they’ve got.

“I enjoyed those occasions and as a young kid growing up in Newcastle I wanted to one day play against them. I loved it and now I’m in Ipswich I’m going to relish the derbies down here. That’s my next step, the Norwich derbies.

“I enjoy derby days and I don’t think they should be tamed down. It’s why we play football. Why not have an exciting derby day? Why do people want to tame it down?

“You’ve got to enjoy that kind of atmosphere and that’s what football fans breathe for. They don’t want to be part of a boring thing, they want to get right in amongst it. Not in a violent way or anything like that, just to enjoy it.

“It will never change my character and it will never change me as a person. I’ll always enjoy my derby days and I’m going to enjoy them with Ipswich, 100 per cent. Even if we play a pre-season derby game I’ll enjoy it as a proper game. You go out to win games, not just to take part.

“There’s always going to be rivalry between Newcastle and Sunderland, like there is between Norwich and Ipswich. It’s different up there – they live, breathe, eat and drink football. You’d need to speak to the gaffer about it but I’ve never had a cup of tea with the gaffer.”

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Photo: TWTD

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