Ex-Phoenix duo Taylor and Hooper get together at UAE club Gulf United

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Former Wellington Phoenix pair Steven Taylor and Gary Hooper have reunited at United Arab Emirates second division club Gulf United.

Taylor (37) has been the manager of Gulf United since retiring from playing in 2021, and he led the club to promotion and the UAE third division title last season.

Main photo: Steven Taylor … trophy winner in Dubai. Photo: Instagram.

His latest signing is veteran striker Gary Hooper (35) who had two spells at the Wellington Phoenix, making 35 first team appearances and scoring 12 goals. He left the Phoenix in 2022.

Hooper has moved to Dubai after a five-month stint with Cyprus club Omonia Nicosia.

Heralding his arrival at Gulf United, the club said:

“A striker with pedigree at the very top of the game. Hooper is the only player to have scored in the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, Premier League, Championship, FA Cup, League Cup, League 1, League 2, Scottish Premier League, Scottish Cup and Scottish League Cup… but can he do it on a hot evening in Dubai? Welcome to the UAE, Gary!”

Gulf United becomes the 12th club Hooper has played for, including Scottish giants Celtic for whom he played 95 games.

Former Newcastle United defender Taylor says he’s enjoying managing United, a club formed in 2019 as an academy by a group of coaches.

He says it is well-funded and the players, often from poor backgrounds, are supported.

Taylor told Chronicle Live: “The guys we’ve got now, especially with their backgrounds, we look after their football boots for them and make sure they’ve got the right kit and trainers for the gym.

“They have everything they need here and that’s thanks to the sponsors we’ve got, who basically fund everything for them. We house them and get them food every night so they’re always looked after.

“They don’t have to worry about anything now, which is the best thing. They can just concentrate on football.”

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