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Oct 22, 2012

O'Neill condemns Taylor chants

Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill has condemned the unsavoury chants towards Newcastle defender Steven Taylor that marred the Wear-Tyne derby on Sunday.

• Blog: Late response sees humiliation avoided
• Blog: 11 Sunderland cult heroes

Taylor had earlier in the week claimed that no Sunderland player would currently make it into the Newcastle team. This jibe provoked a number of Sunderland fans to chant 'You wish you were here' at the Greenwich born defender after it had been claimed that Taylor tried to engineer a move to Wearside following Newcastle's relegation in 2009.

They followed it up with chants of 'We wish you were dead', before Newcastle fans replied with vile chants about suspended Sunderland captain Lee Cattermole while missiles were also thrown at the Magpies' goalscorer Yohan Cabaye late on.

After the game, O'Neill admitted to feeling disappointed at the news that certain sections had chosen to wish death upon Taylor - describing them as "very in poor taste".

"I didn't know that. That would be poor, in very poor taste, if that's the case," he said. "I would be disappointed to have heard that."

When asked if he had used Taylor's comments to motivate his players prior to the game, O'Neill said, "It didn't figure in my team-talk, but some of the players had passed comment about it. He's absolutely entitled to his opinion. I am delighted he made their bench."

Meanwhile, police are also investigating an alleged incident of racist abuse, with reports suggesting Demba Ba as the target. A spokesman for Northumbria Police confirmed: "There was one report of racist language having been used by a supporter in one area of the stadium - enquiries are ongoing."