At the time of writing, no one has yet confirmed that Jack Colback’s free transfer to Newcastle United has finally gone through. But it’s all over the internet, with the Sunderland Echo and Sky among many reporting the deal.
ESPN was sufficiently sure of the transfer happening to ask for a quick piece on players who have made the Wear-Tyne or Tyne-Wear switch, or just played for both clubs. As I said there, supporters on each side of the divide have little need of record books to rattle off a parade of names.
This an excerpt from that article, which now appears at http://www.espnfc.com/club/sunderland/366/blog/post/1869885:
Many Sunderland fans will be disappointed, inevitable as the departure became once his contract ran out and it became clear he felt he could do better than the kind of renewal terms Sunderland were proposing.
Colback was a model professional. He wholeheartedly overcame childhood allegiance to become a dependable fixture in red and white, to the extent of angering Geordies with his exuberant celebration of a superbly taken goal to round off last season’s 3-0 win for Sunderland at St James’ Park.
I went on to mention Lee Clark, Andy Cole (just about a former Sunderland player), Shack of course, Chopra and “that miss”, Pop Robson and, though neither played for us, Steve Bruce and Bob Stokoe. A dozen or more names sprang to mind but there wasn’t room.
Colback goes with my warm thanks for his efforts for Sunderland AFC, even if I’d be more than happy to see his new team struggle next season and look wistfully up the table towards us.
I never thought of him as a goalscorer, but those strikes at Cardiff and Newcastle and at home to West Brom will linger in the memory, for different reasons. He was an exceptionally tidy midfielder, rarely incisive but utterly dependable. Sunderland supporters were divided between those who found him useful but pedestrian and uninspiring and those who, like one pundit after another in televised games, detected a seriously good footballer at work.
Would I have fought to keep him? Probably, but Gus Poyet has to be allowed to build his own squad and that necessarily means some disruption and breaks with an underachieving past.
By the way, one online dictionary offers this definition of prodigal: “a man or boy who has left his family in order to do something that the family disapprove of and has now returned home feeling sorry for what he has done.” With a bit of licence, that may just about fit.
The summer promises to bring a lot more moves, in and out. This is the place to discuss Colback’s.
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