Steven Taylor: I would rather go and collect stamps than pull on a Sunderland shirt
"Some of my staff are ready to pull down walls," said Alan Pardew, the Newcastle manager, yesterday – and his was the voice of sanity. Tempering a Tyne-Wear derby is not easy, and perhaps his chief wall-feller was Steven Taylor.
The defender, now 27, has had this fixture in his heart since he was a boy in Whitley Bay. Some of what follows was said in jest, some was not; his words are sure, however, to crank up the intensity level a notch before tomorrow's game between Sunderland and Newcastle at the Stadium of Light.
Asked if he would ever consider playing for Sunderland, Taylor said: "I would rather go and collect stamps than stick on that shirt!
"I have not got any friends who are Sunderland fans. As for the players, I am friendly with one or two of them from the [England] Under-21s but that was before they signed for Sunderland.
"When I am warming up their fans have their veins popping out of their necks. It is like I have done something to their family or something. Even when I was just starting out I have always enjoyed that hostility, getting abuse off their fans. It doesn't bother me that much. I like that sort of thing. It won't upset me one bit."
Taylor was then asked if he would take any Sunderland players into the Newcastle team. "No," he said. "Even last year the gaffer said it, he has our team above Sunderland. That is the quality we possess. It is all very well having that but we have to go out and deliver that.
"The foreign lads have bought into everything. I was a bit nervous last year because I didn't know if they would adjust to it. This year it doesn't need introducing to anyone. Last season a few of the local lads, myself, Shola [Ameobi] and Harps [Steve Harper] went around explaining it to them. All people are worried about this year is if they have any niggles. The gaffer has a few selection headaches because we have a full squad raring to go."
Latest in Sport
How Atletico Madrid produced a miracle on a shoestring
Chelsea could face FA punishment after Jose Mourinho makes post-match dig at referee
Norwich 2 Liverpool 3 match report: Liverpool go five points clear of Chelsea at top of Premier League table on day Luis Suarez hits goal number 30
Luis Suarez: Liverpool striker shows both his sides after hitting 30 Premier League goals but play acting yet again
Liverpool: Three remaining fixtures - can they remain on top of the Premier League table?
- 1 Easter egg hunt horror as mother finds dead body under deck of house
- 2 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 3 Unbeliebable: The White House offer 'no comment' to anti-Justin Bieber petition
- 4 Loch Ness Monster found on Apple Maps?
- 5 How We Met: Alison Moyet & Emma Kennedy: 'I knew we'd be friends because she was happy to make a prat of herself'
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
'Sinful': Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy comes under attack
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back
Refugee facing deportation from Sweden saved by fellow passengers refusing to let plane leave