Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Stevie staying put

Like manager, like player. Alan Pardew has helped Steven Taylor - not so long ago transfer-listed and apparently an outcast at St James' - secure a new five-and-a-half-year deal. Taylor commented: "I joined the club as a boy and feel confident that I can fulfil all my professional ambitions here at my hometown club. I have never lost hope that everything could be sorted and that I could stay." Assuming your "professional ambitions" are loftier than the Championship title, Steven, I'm not quite so confident - but here's hoping, eh?

As we suggested might be the case a few days ago, bridges have clearly been rebuilt in persuading Taylor to re-sign - and for that we should be thankful to Pardew: "Steven is somebody who can be a bedrock of our defence for a long time to come, and it's great news that he's staying. I made it one of my priorities when I arrived." Of course, the development also suggests either that Chris Hughton was less concerned about Taylor's retention or that Jabba has been more inclined to trust in Pardew's judgement than that of his predecessor...

Taylor still has some rough edges that you'd hope might be smoothed off soon now he's approaching his 25th birthday, but he's a whole-hearted and passionate defender who we'd have found difficult to replace had he left us for a cut-price fee in January. His applauding all four sides of the ground after the Man City game could have been interpreted as a farewell but actually signalled his continuing commitment to the club.

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