As if synonymizing Newcastle's relegation wasn't embarrassing enough, token Geordie caricature Steven Taylor has just taken another smack to the chops. This time delivered by Knight and Commander of the Order of the British Empire, Sir Bob Murray.
The former chairman of Sunderland AFC has revealed that Taylor - who this week described Wearside as a "horrible place" - once tried to sign for the club he's spent years trying to bait.
In an interview with the Sunderland Echo Sir Bob claims the former Newcastle defender - who spent thirteen years at St James Park - tried to engineer a move to the Stadium of Light when Mick McCarthy was manager.
The 31-year-old defender was released by Newcastle United last summer and now plays for Ipswich Town after an attempt at a final hurrah in the American MLS turned sour. Taylor joined Portland Timbers last August but club and player mutually agreed to part ways before Christmas.
Taylor said of Sunderland in an interview with the Daily Mail last week,
It's a horrible place. People know the situation between me and Sunderland. They don't like me. I don't like them...
...It's great I thrive on it. The hatred is what I love about playing against them...
...It's great and I hate them. That's just how it is.
Steven Taylor angling to sign for Sunderland at some point in his Newcastle career has always been hinted at in Mackem folklore, but now this morning in the Echo interview, Sir Bob has delivered a devastating put down suggesting he was asked to attend a meeting at which the player wanted to discuss signing for his club,
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 if I would meet him.
Presumably Sir Bob was asked to attend by then-Sunderland boss McCarthy because of the explosive potential of a Wallsend Boys Club, Newcastle youth product signing for the Mackems. Murray continues,
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 we let him go.
Even more amazingly though, the Sunderland Echo article continues with this denial of Sir Bob's claim by Taylor himself or someone close to him,
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.
Setting aside the fact that the Ipswich Town defender - who has only played two games in the Championship since his December move to the Tractor Boys - even has a 'camp' - was that not Taylor and that 'camp' accusing Sir Bob Murray of being incorrect in his assertions? Lying even?
Taylor was always loathed by Sunderland fans due to his history of barbed comments about the club, the city and its supporters. But by the end of his time at Newcastle he had become something of an embarrassing caricature who even made Geordies cringe with his carry-on.
He famously once said he would rather collect stamps than play for Sunderland and claimed in 2012 that not one of his opponents in an upcoming Wear-Tyne derby would get in his Newcastle team.
Admittedly he was in the last black-and-white side to beat Sunderland but that was nine derbies ago back in 2011. But perhaps our favourite memory of the cartoon character was when he had his face firmly smacked against a post by Steven Fletcher in 2015.
His rubbery features likely didn't help his exaggerated place in Wear-Tyne rivalry, appearing as he does as though a caricaturist has been let loose with a felt-tip, but the final laugh has always been on Taylor as he was part of the shocking Steve McClaren defence who largely ensured Newcastle were relegated last season.
McClaren had spent over £80m assembling his relegation squad but absurdly was incapable of addressing his leaky defence and had called upon Taylor during the run-in last season.
The then-Magpie boss would describe Taylor as 'Newcastle's John Terry' before his side were destroyed by Chelsea last February with one national newspaper awarding the Toon defender a 1/10 and described him as 'horrific'. A month later against Leicester, BBC pundit Robbie Savage scoffed that Taylor - who's legs had patently gone - was so deep that he was in the carpark of the King Power stadium.
Even more intriguing is the prospect of us facing Steven Taylor next season should the worst happen and Sunderland are indeed relegated.
With Mick McCarthy - the man who allegedly interviewed Taylor for the Stadium of Light gig that Murray refers to - now managing the player at Ipswich, perhaps the former Sunderland boss might clarify what happened.
One thing is sure if we do fail to beat the drop, a trip to Ipswich will be one to look out for when the Championship fixtures are released in the summer. Assuming Taylor makes it that far at Portman Road.