It wasn’t the way Steven Taylor wanted to end his Newcastle United career.
Taylor lasted just 45 minutes of the club’s game against Southampton late last season.
Once it got to half-time, I couldn’t go on any longer. I didn’t want that to be my last game.Steven Taylor
And it had been a forgettable half for the defender and his team.
Newcastle had conceded two first-half goals at the St Mary’s Stadium, and went on to lose 3-1. To make matters worse, United’s Daryl Janmaat – who had limped out of the game after the second goal – fractured his hand after punching a door in the tunnel.
“I remember in the warm-up things didn’t feel right,” said Taylor, now at MLS club Portland Timbers.
“But you can’t shy away. I remember very early in the game my hamstring wasn’t feeling too good. I tried to play on but couldn’t. I remember looking at the clock and it was nine minutes into the game.
“Even then I thought I couldn’t go off. Once it got to half-time, I couldn’t go on any longer. I didn’t want that to be my last game.”
Fortunately for Taylor, it didn’t prove to be his last game.
The 30-year-old returned to fitness a few weeks later and was an 11th-hour replacement for an unwell Jamaal Lascelles for the final game of the season against Tottenham Hotspur.
Newcastle, already relegated, won the game 5-1.
“That couldn’t have ended any better,” said Taylor.
“People thought we might have crumbled, but we had to do ourselves justice.
“It was incredible. We looked a real force. I felt great, the legs felt great. I wished we’d played like that all season. I was just devastated we were relegated.”