Newcastle star’s praise for ‘angry face’ West Brom chief

PRAISE: Steven Taylor.
PRAISE: Steven Taylor.

STEVEN Taylor’s knows the secret of Alan Irvine’s early impact at The Hawthorns – his “angry face”!

Taylor was coached by West Bromwich Albion’s manager during his time as Academy director at Newcastle United.

The 56-year-old was a surprise successor to Pepe Mel, who was sacked in the summer after a five-month spell in charge.

Irvine had a fruitful spell at Newcastle, when he worked with John Carver, now United No2, and then-reserve team coach Tommy Craig, who is now in charge at Falkirk.

And defender Taylor isn’t surprised that Irvine has lifted West Brom – who entertain Newcastle on Sunday – after Mel’s ill-fated reign.

The Baggies are 11th in the Premier League, and ahead of 12th-placed United on goal difference.

“I have massive respect for Alan Irvine, because he is one of the best coaches I have ever had,” said Taylor. “He coached me as a young kid coming through at Under-17 level.

“He has done well at West Brom and got them well-organised. He has just given them a new lift. They’re playing with confidence, so it’ll be a difficult game.

“We know it’s going to be a completely different game to the Liverpool one, and we’re looking forward to it.”

Irvine – who had a long spell as David Moyes’s No2 at Everton – set high standards for his Academy teams, and Taylor says when he talked, the club’s young players listened.

“He (Irvine) had massive respect from everyone,” said 28-year-old Taylor.

“I haven’t seen anything really close to Alan and Tommy Craig.

“They had that aura about them, and I think we went through a whole season and got beaten once.

“He had that respect and everyone was nervous and scared around him, because of that aura, and that Scottish, angry face.

“I’m absolutely delighted for him and he has done so well – but I hope he has a hiccup against us.”