Taylor had made comments in the run-up to Sunday’s Wear-Tyne derby discrediting the ability of the Sunderland players, which clearly added fuel to an already raging fire of rivalry between the two North-East clubs.
“We wouldn’t take any of their players,” Taylor had commented in the build up to Sunday’s game.
“Not even one player, not even one player on their bench, would get into our starting XI. That is the quality we possess.”
Whilst his comments might ordinarily have been taken as bravado or mind games, Sunderland fans took such exception to his statement that they began to chant at him before the game had even kicked off at the Stadium of Light.
As he warmed up there were repeated rounds of chanting, clearly audible as, “Steven Taylor, we wish you were dead.”
Martin O’Neill claimed he had not heard any such chanting but went on record with his disappointment at even the suggestion.
“I didn't know that. That would be poor, in very poor taste, if that's the case. I would be disappointed to have heard that."
O’Neill took the opportunity to reference Taylor’s comments but denied that it had any particular impact on the Black Cats’ performance.
"It didn't figure in my team talk, but some of the players had passed comment about it. He's absolutely entitled to his opinion. I am delighted he made their bench."
Taylor came on as a late substitute for Fabricio Coloccini with just over ten minutes to spare before the final whistle. He appeared to take the boos and chanting in jest as he smiled and applauded the fans.
It’s not the first instance that Sunderland fans have voiced their disapproval of Taylor since he earned his side a penalty in another 1-1 draw between the two sides at St James’ Park back in February 2009.
Newcastle snatched a draw as a result of the penalty amid suggestions that Taylor had taken a tumble a little too lightly. Whilst he’s unlikely to win any popularity contests at the Stadium of Light, one might be inclined to suggest the Sunderland fans crossed a line in terms of appropriate banter.
Synonymously, one might also be inclined to suggest Steven Taylor might want to do his talking on the pitch next time. If he makes it off the bench, that is.