Steven Taylor decides the time is right to leave Newcastle
By Mark Crellin
Last Updated: 03/06/16 11:18am
Long-serving defender Steven Taylor will part company with Newcastle when his contract expires at the end of the month.
The 30-year-old, who has been at the club for 21 years, was offered a new one-year deal but has decided the time is right to move elsewhere.
Taylor said: "It will be a huge wrench to leave Newcastle but I've been offered exciting opportunities both in the UK and abroad and I'm really looking forward to my next challenge.
"I've loved my time at Newcastle. I'll always be a huge fan of the club and I'll be returning to St James' Park as a supporter whenever I can."
Having come through the Newcastle academy, Taylor signed professional terms in 2003 and made his first-team debut the following March.
Taylor made 268 first-team appearances for Newcastle, and his final match for the club was the 5-1 thrashing of Spurs on the last day of the Premier League season.
Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez said: "Steven has been a very good player for this club for a long time and his character and personality has always been very positive, including during difficult times.
"I would like to thank Steven for his service and I wish him well for his future."
Managing director Lee Charnley added: "I have known Steven since he first joined the club as a teenager and during that time his enthusiasm and love for the club has never wavered.
"He has always shown great commitment over the years. He has also been a superb ambassador for the club, representing Newcastle United at countless community and charitable events across the region during his time with us. I wish him all the very best for the future."
Taylor represented England from U16s through to 'B' level and captained the U21s on numerous occasions, but has not earned a full cap for his country, although he was named in the senior squad on a couple of occasions.
Injuries marred what has turned out to be his final campaign at St James' Park and he was out between August and February with a hamstring injury but returned later in the season, although he was unable to prevent the Magpies from dropping into the Championship.