Newcastle United’s players, at times, need a thick skin.
And Steven Taylor’s skin is thicker than most.
The defender – whose 13 first-team seasons at St James’s Park were punctuated by a series of injuries – divided opinion on social media in the latter part of his career at the club.
But there was no such divide on Wearside.
Taylor, a boyhood Newcastle fan who was living his dream, was a player Sunderland supporters loved to hate.
When things aren’t going well, there are always going to be people who are getting digged out. If you’re going to read that kind of stuff, you’re going to put yourself down.Steven Taylor
The 30-year-old, now at MLS club Portland Timbers, says the abuse that came his way – both from the stands and Twitter – didn’t affect him.
“When you’re doing well at Newcastle, it’s the best in the world,” said Taylor.
“When things aren’t going well, there are always going to be people who are getting digged out.
“If you’re going to read that kind of stuff, you’re going to put yourself down.
“I know some of the players sometimes struggle with that.
“But the best thing to do is prove them wrong.
“You can’t turn up and sulk, you’re a professional footballer.
“It was difficult for everyone last season.
“No matter where you go, it’s part and parcel of being a professional footballer.
“If you can’t handle a bit of flak, you’re in the wrong game It makes you who you are.”
Sunderland fans chanted “Steven Taylor, we wish you were dead” during derbies.
“A lot of people could have buckled with that,” added Taylor, who turned down a new one-year deal at United in the summer.