Steven Taylor and Obafemi Martins could once be teammates in the very near future.
The pair of them played together for Newcastle from 2006 to 2009, until the Nigerian striker jumped ship after the first relegation under Mike Ashley.
Steven Taylor staying on until 2016 when he was released after Rafa Benitez decided not to offer him a new contract.
Taylor abruptly ending a stay in the MLS with Portland Timbers after only a few months, before then playing briefly for Ipswich Town. Last season saw him stay fit and play all season, only for Peterborough (currently top of League One) to put him on the transfer list.
A move to Wellington Phoenix followed (see below) in July, the Phoneix compete in Australia’s A-League and they were very happy to sign the ‘Newcastle Legend’ and ‘England Defender’ as a high profile overseas signing.
The A-League are trying to raise their profile and standard of football and to help clubs in trying to attract overseas players, the Football Federation Australia (FFA) set up a $3 million marquee fund. Clubs can apply for some of this cash and if agreed, they can then use it to help fund a deal to bring in a high profile player.
Wellington Phoenix failed in an attempt to bring in 35 year former Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien and are now reported to have switched attention to Obafemi Martins.
Martins in unwanted by his current club Shanghai Shenhua after recovering from injury, Demba Ba now first choice.
The media down under say that talks have taken place between Wellington Phoenix and Martins’ agent, with a deal trying to be worked out. The league season kicks off in October and the former Newcastle striker turns 34 that month.
Wellington Phoenix are in danger of losing their A-League licence which is currently due to expire at the end of the 2019-20 season.
To ensure they keep their license, the club needs to improve such things as their attendances and TV ratings, hence the extra incentive to bring in more attractive high profile players to boost interest.
The Mag – 10 July 2018:
The Hyundai A-League have now made an official announcement, confirming that Steven Taylor has joined Wellington Phoenix.
All clubs and players talk up new signings and interesting to see what has been said on both sides on this occasion.
Both Steven Taylor and the Australian league keen to talk it up.
‘Former Newcastle United and England defender’ might be stretching it just a little bit, seen as Taylor never played higher than Under 21 level for his country.
As for ‘former Newcastle legend’, more than a few NUFC fans will be having a chuckle at that one. Bit of a shame really the way it went with the central defender later in his Newcastle career, he was a decent, if not outstanding, defender for a good number of years but ended up as a bit of a joke figure for many.
As for Steven Taylor claiming he couldn’t turn down the chance of ‘playing in one of the best leagues in the world’…the standard of football in the A-League is probably no better or worse than many other ones around the world but to claim it is one of the best? Surely that is pure Steven Taylor. No doubt League One was given similar accolades 12 months ago.
On final thing. The announcement also shows Taylor’s career ‘at a glance’ below, his time at Newcastle showing a remarkable 11 different managers/head coaches. How could they though have forgotten the self-proclaimed ‘best coach in the Premier League’, step forward John Carver. How quickly people forget….
— Hyundai A-League (@ALeague) July 10, 2018
Hyundai A-League Official Announcement:
Wellington Phoenix has made the first big signing of the Mark Rudan era with former Newcastle United and England defender Steven Taylor agreeing to terms with the Hyundai A-League club.
Taylor, who was last playing in England’s League One with Peterborough last season, passed his medical on Monday allowing Phoenix to confirm his signing today.
The 32-year-old has had an illustrious career to date, including his 194 appearances for Newcastle United in the Premier League before going on to join Portland Timbers in the MLS, then Ipswich Town and Peterborough United in the English Football League.
“As soon as I was aware of the interest, I knew it was an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up,” Taylor said.
“I was here in 2014 as part of the Football United Tour when we played in Dunedin and Wellington and loved the country then.
“I know that I am joining an exciting project under Mark as well as playing in one of the best leagues in the world in the A-League”.
Taylor is the first new signing for the Phoenix as part of their recruitment drive heading into the Hyundai A-League 2018/19 Season.
The tough-tackling centre-back arrives with a wealth of achievements, winning the UEFA Intertoto Cup in 2006 before winning the Football League Championship in the 2009/10 season, both while at Newcastle.
“Steven is a significant signing for the football club in what we are trying to create,” coach Mark Rudan said.
“He brings a huge amount of experience and strong leadership.
“We expect Steven to be a success on and off the park.”
Taylor will meet his new teammates as he begins training with the squad this week.
His potential competitive debut could see him up against Bentleigh Greens in the FFA Cup Round of 32 on August 7th in Melbourne.
Steven Taylor At A Glance
Professional Playing Career
2017 Peterborough United – Coach Steve Evans
2017 Ipswich Town – Coach Mick McCarthy
2016 Portland Timbers – Coach Caleb Porter
2003-16 Newcastle United – Coaches: Sir Bobby Robson, Graeme Souness, Glenn Roeder, Sam Allardyce, Kevin Keegan, Chris Hughton, Joe Kinnear, Alan Shearer, Alan Pardew, Steve McClaren and Rafael Benitez.
2009-10 Football League Championship 2006 UEFA Intertoto Cup
2003-04 Wycombe Wanderers – Coach Tony Adams