STEVEN Taylor believes Newcastle United’s players have found strength and unity in adversity as they try to cope with the continued uncertainty surrounding the club.
Although United’s players are suffering as a result of the lack of progress in the sale of the club, and have made no secret of their support for the appointment of Alan Shearer as manager, Taylor is full of praise for the way they have conducted themselves in pre-season.
The Journal understands that a number of players are poised to hand in transfer requests this week in protest at the failure to name Shearer as manager. Those requests will be rejected by the club who will not conduct any transfer business until a takeover is complete.
However, there was no sign of that militancy as Darlington were thrashed 7-2 on Saturday.
“The squad is really good, “ said Taylor, who has once again re-affirmed his desire to stay at Newcastle despite their relegation to the Championship. “Everyone is sticking together, from the young lads to the older ones. Last season we knew there were a few people who didn’t want to be here, but now we realise that we are in the Championship and the only way to get back up is by sticking together.
“The Dublin trip was the best thing
that could have happened to us all. We had to spend every single day together. Three times a day we spent training, getting up at 7am.
“Most players didn’t fancy that, but after the first day everyone was pushing each other, it was good to see.
“There was never anyone hiding away, that to me highlights that none of us wanted to be seen as coming last.”
And, while Taylor is aware of the fact fans will accuse him of merely trying to put a positive spin on things, the centre-back is adamant the players are doing everything they can to prevent a bad situation getting any worse.
He explained: “The fans don’t understand. Because it seems the club is a shambles, they probably think that the players are fighting every day in training, but with us it is completely different.
“I just wish they could spend one day on the training ground to see just how we are going about this and getting along with each other. There’s a much better team bond now.
“The worst thing about it is that no matter what I say it seems that I’m just putting over a message the fans want to hear. We were accused of that after the Shamrock Rovers game, but it isn’t.
“They don’t realise what it has been like and I can assure you that Dublin was definitely the best thing that could have happened to Newcastle United. We have to stick together.”
Like most fans, United’s players are also trying to ignore the speculation regarding a takeover with most refusing to believe it until it happens.
Taylor said: “We get sick of hearing differing things and reading different things in the papers. Every day is different. It’s been said it’s going to get taken over one week, then it’s the week after and it still has not happened. Until we see it finalised, that’s it.
“Fitness is the main thing and the score (in pre-season) doesn’t really mean much. We have three weeks left and we have to make sure we are in the best possible condition, shape, because we know it will be a difficult start for us. We will get on with it.
“It’s frustrating, but all we can do is get on with our jobs because if you think too much about things off the pitch, it will affect performances on it. You have to look after yourself and each other. It’s a small squad now, but that’s Newcastle United now.”
And Taylor also backed coaches Chris Hughton and Colin Calderwood, who have been asked to look after training in the absence of a manager.
He said: “Colin and Chris have done a fantastic job. For them to get us in the great shape that we are, in the circumstances, is fantastic. They have not complained, they have just gone about it the right way.”