Sunderland AFC fans have remained defiant following insults from ‘childish’ footballer Steven Taylor – and urged the former Newcastle United defender to ‘grow up’.
Taylor has again hit out at Sunderland.
Having once said he’d rather ‘collect stamps’ than play for Sunderland, he has now hit out further, describing the city as a ‘horrible place’ and saying he ‘hates’ the club’s fans.
The comments caused uproar on social media with scores of comments left on the Echo’s Facebook page.
However, despite the current Ipswich Town player’s apparent bid to rile supporters further, Sunderland fans have brushed his comments aside.
George Forster, chairman of Sunderland AFC Supporters’ Association, said: “Sticks and stones don’t hurt my bones. It’s about time he grew up George Forster
“It doesn’t bother me one little bit what he says about us.
“It’s about time he grew up.”
Paul Dobson, part of the editorial team on SAFC fanzine A Love Supreme, said: “He can say what he likes.
“Even the Newcastle fans don’t seem to take him terribly seriously.
“He comes out with some very childish comments at times.
“He’s a bit of an irritant and a fool to himself.
“He doesn’t seem a very nice person, and he wasn’t a particularly good footballer either.
“He was part of two Newcastle teams that got relegated and will always have that responsibility.”
Should Sunderland lose their bid to survive in the Premier League this season, they could come up against Taylor’s Ipswich in the Championship next term.
Mr Dobson added: “I’m sure he’d get a pretty unpleasant reception if he came to the Stadium of Light next season.
“I’m surprised Ipswich were desperate enough to take him on.
“Maybe he works in the burger van there or something.”
Newcastle fans, meanwhile, also appear unperturbed with Taylor’s comments.
Kris Wallace, who runs Newcastle fan site Gallowgate Shots, said: “Let’s be honest, Steven Taylor was never the sharpest knife in the drawer when on Tyneside, but he did always wear his heart on his sleeve, so he probably isn’t wide of the mark with his comments.
“First of all, he was a Newcastle fan before a professional player.
“He grew up with a strong rivalry with Sunderland and no doubt that intensity grew as he wore the black and white shirt.
“The Sunderland fans have repeatedly sung a pretty morbid chant towards him, which definitely wouldn’t have eased his ‘hatred’.
“They hate him, he hates them – nothing to see here.”
Taylor’s comments were made in an interview with the Daily Mail.
Quizzed on his least favourite away ground, he said: “Sunderland. It’s a horrible place.
“People know the situation between me and Sunderland. They don’t like me, I don’t like them.
“The hatred is what I love about playing against them, especially having 46,000 Mackems hate you as much as they do.
“It’s great, and I hate them. That’s just how it is. I think you’ll see that if we play them.
“On a personal level, it would be great to play them.
“Having 46,000 Mackems singing the ‘Steven Taylor, we wish you were dead’ song again would take the pressure off my team-mates.”