JOHN Carver has told his Newcastle players they could find themselves immortalised in song if they make themselves a derby hero on Sunday.
The current crop of Magpies head for Wearside determined to avoid a record fifth successive defeat by Sunderland, but knowing what lies in wait for those who make the difference on the biggest day in the Tyne-Wear calendar.
Liam O’Brien, Andy O’Brien and Ryan Taylor have all had their derby exploits remembered in the lyrics of terrace chants over the years, and there is little doubt those chants will be ringing around the Stadium of Light this weekend.
As a Geordie himself, Carver knows exactly what a telling contribution in this particular showdown can mean for a player’s career, and he is hoping the songwriters are busy again on Monday morning.
Asked about Ryan Taylor, whose winner on Wearside in August 2011 is still celebrated with the ditty “Ryan Taylor, over the wall”, he said: “It was a bit of magic from Ryan, and he’s reaped the benefits of that.
“Unfortunately, he hasn’t played [a lot since then], but he’s become a bit of a cult hero and he’s even got a song named after him, so that’s how important it is.
“We never thought Andy O’Brien would score from a corner against Sunderland because he didn’t get too many goals. But again, he got a song named after him, so you score a goal in the derby and you get a song!’’
Taylor’s goal secured Newcastle’s last win in a fixture in which they had largely held the upper hand for a decade, with the Black Cats’ run of four wins being preceded by two draws.