Jack Colback will become the 57th player to have played for rivals Sunderland and Newcastle United when he dons the black and white stripes of his childhood heroes next season, and there’s shortage of vitriol from his old employers regarding the player’s move across town.
Colback, 24, signed a long-term deal to join Newcastle in a move that has been long-rumored after the midfielder, who also plays some defender, wouldn’t agree to a new deal with the Black Cats. There were other stories that Colback was getting higher-paying offers in the Premier League, but St. James Park was his focus.
“I’m fully aware it is going to be a controversial (move), but these sort of opportunities don’t come around too often,” the 24-year-old midfielder toldnufcTVin this exclusive interview.
“If you ask fans around the world, the one thing they would like to do before they die is to play, it would be to play for the team they support, and I have been given the chance to do it.
“To come to a team I supported as a boy – my hometown team – is a really special one for me.”
Sunderland doesn’t care that Colback’s dream has come true, as the Black Cats have been training him for more than two-thirds of his life.
“Jack is a player we have nurtured and developed through our academy system since he was eight years old. We gave him the opportunity to become a professional footballer and are therefore extremely disappointed in the events that have led to his departure from the club.
“This wasn’t about money – the club agreed to all of the terms demanded of us during discussions and we were always led to believe that Jack wanted to stay with us. At his and his representatives’ request, final talks were put on hold until the club secured its top flight status. To our dismay however, we were subsequently never given the chance to negotiate with him to stay.
“For him to then leave the club that has supported him throughout his formative years in such a manner, with no chance for Sunderland to recover any of the significant investment that it has made in him as a player, has left a bitter taste.”
The rivalry is one that gets slept on from average Premier League fans due to both clubs being relatively-moribund for a significant period of time (with the exception of Newcastle’s recent Europa League season).
Sunderland currently holds a three-match win streak in the Tyne-Wear Derby, and Colback become the first player to make the jump directly between clubs since 2010 (Titus Bramble). Other recent additions to the list are Louis Saha and Danny Simpson.