Former Newcastle United player Steven Taylor '˜wanted Sunderland move', says ex-chairman Sir Bob Murray
Sunderland-hating former Newcastle defender Steven Taylor once tried to sign for the Black Cats Sir Bob Murray has told the Echo - but the club apparently 'turned him down'.
Taylor hit the headlines last week when he once again criticised Sunderland and Wearsiders, calling the city a “horrible place” and admitting that he thrives on the hatred of SAFC fans.
But in an exclusive interview with the Echo, an angry Sir Bob has called on Taylor, who now plays for Ipswich Town under former Cats boss Mick McCarthy, to stop his “immature and ignorant” jibes.
He told the Echo that the Geordie player once tried to engineer a move to the Stadium of Light.
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After choosing not to comment on Taylor’s outbursts towards the club, Sir Bob said: “Over the years I have been annoyed by Steven Taylor but I’ve always kept my mouth shut.
“Sunderland is a special club, with special people, in a special city.
“This young man has said various things in recent times and I’ve done my best to resist saying anything back, but I can’t anymore.”
Describing the meeting he recalls had with Taylor, Sir Bob 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.”
Taylor’s camp deny the meeting with McCarthy took place - but accept that Taylor was involved with discussions at the Stadium when he was 16, when Peter Reid was manager and Taylor had yet to secure a long-term contract at Newcastle.
Taylor went on to play for the Magpies until 2015, when he moved to American Major League Soccer side Portland Timbers.
He now plays for Ipswich Town in the Championship.
Taylor has been known for regularly speaking of his dislike for Sunderland, once saying that he would “rather collect stamps” than wear an SAFC shirt.
He did however praise Black Cats supporters for raising money following the deaths of NUFC fans Liam Sweeney and John Alder, who were killed on a flight as they went to watch a pre-season game in July 2014.
Sir Bob also added that he wants Taylor to stop making derogatory comments about Sunderland, its football club and its people in future.
“His comments are immature and ignorant,” said the businessman, who ran SAFC from 1986 until the Niall Quinn-led Drumaville consortium took over in 2006.
“This is a fantastic place and the North East is a fantastic place.
“This kind of comment is not acceptable and he needs to stop.
“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 shift.
“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.”