Jack Colback was one of Sunderland's only bright spots in a terrible 2013-14 season. The 24-year-old academy graduate shined for the Black Cats and probably kept fans from walking out at halftime on multiple occasions. He also helped keep them in the Premier League.
And now he's gone.
Colback's contract was up after the season and he has signed elsewhere, which may have made Sunderland mad, but what really pissed them off is who he signed with -- Newcastle.
Yes, Sunderland's brightest young players just walked out of Sunderland and to their biggest rivals. For free.
The Black Cats had a couple words on the subject.
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.
Sunderland's anger is completely understandable. After all, their academy product left them ... and for their rivals.
But, and we're just throwing this out there, maybe Sunderland shouldn't have waited to give him a new contract so he could leave on a free? And maybe, just maybe, they shouldn't be so awful at football so players actually wanted to play there.
Just a thought.