It was certainly a 58th birthday that Peter Taylor won’t forget for a while.

A memorable home win over the side he rates the best in League Two followed by a media interrogation over the link with Newcastle.

But you sense that Taylor wouldn’t have it any other way.

That’s why he politely rebuffed Geordie advances to team up with Alan Pardew.

As hugely tempting an offer as it was - both in terms of football and finance - there was one crucial element that he would have to leave behind.

His current life in the bottom division may be far removed from the Premier League. But he has still got that cut and thrust of being the man in the hot-seat; the numero uno.

It’s a job that Taylor has relished for the past quarter of a century since first swapping his playing boots for a tracksuit.

And this week’s events have made it clear that he is not ready for the equivalent of a “pipe and slippers” role as assistant for a while yet.

Whether it’s jotting down the endless lists of the strengths and weaknesses of future opponents at home or patrolling the touchline like a drill-parade sergeant major on a Saturday afternoon, Taylor remains in his element.

Sure, he would have fitted Newcastle’s requirements down to a tee. His wealth of experience would have been ideal for working with the young players that the Toon are trying to nurture in the next few years.

And for Pardew, Taylor would have provided the wise voice in his ear and the support of someone who has been there and done everything.

Compensation between the two clubs, thought to be in the region of £50,000, had been agreed. His departure seemed only a matter of time.

But Taylor was reluctant to step out of the firing line; he has spent too long standing where the buck stops.

It’s not easy to give up that ultimate responsibility - even for the glamour and glitz of one of England’s football giants.

Pardew was handed a marathon five-year contract when he succeeded Chris Hughton. Logic suggests that the offer to work as his assistant would have been an equally long-term one.

Instead, Taylor has vowed to batten down the hatches at Valley Parade with a contract that is currently ticking to run out in five months.

No wonder Julian Rhodes called him mad!

But that also underlines Taylor’s hunger for management. He could have taken the much easier option - and who of us given the same circumstances would have honestly turned that down - but didn’t.

If anything, it will surely make Taylor more determined to get the job done. Now he wants to show that he was spot on to stick it out.

City’s position is hardly all sweetness and light, even with two much-needed wins to herald the new year. The board have pushed the boat out as far as they dare; fail to escape this awful division this season and the budget will have to be trimmed back again in the summer.

That is not news to Taylor. He is well aware of the parameters within which the club must operate - that is half the challenge.

Since day one, he has maintained that City have the squad strong enough to get where we all desperately want. Amid all the sneers and jeers, he has never faltered from that stance.

Key players are slowly coming back; just as importantly, confidence is being restored. Back-to-back victories have pushed the team to within touching distance of the play-offs.

A week after Taylor had called the campaign “embarrassing”, there is everything to play for.

When City went to Barnet three months ago, the knives were out. Defeat that day and it was widely acknowledged that the axe would fall on their manager.

One glance in the main stand at Underhill revealed a gaggle of out-of-work bosses circling like vultures. They left disappointed to a man.

When City and Barnet step out at Valley Parade tomorrow afternoon, they will be greeted by an expectant home crowd. Fans suddenly anticipating a second half of the season which might just lead to something.

There is no iron-cast guarantee that the past week will prove anything more than a welcome respite rather than something a bit more pivotal.

If City’s form up to now is anything to go by, continue to expect the unexpected.

But by staying put, Taylor has indicated that he is ready to stand and fight. Now it’s the turn of his players to demonstrate that same level of commitment where it matters.