Colback crosses bitter divide

Hampshire Chronicle: Jack Colback, left, will be wearing a Newcastle shirt next season Jack Colback, left, will be wearing a Newcastle shirt next season

Sunderland midfielder Jack Colback has fulfilled a boyhood dream by crossing the Tyne-Wear divide to sign for Newcastle on a free transfer.

The 24-year-old midfielder, who was born on Tyneside and supported the Magpies as a boy, has signed a long-term contract after rejecting a new deal at the Stadium of Light.

Colback, who had been with the Wearside club since he was 10, was linked with a series of clubs including West Ham and Aston Villa after dismissing an initial offer, but despite head coach Gus Poyet's desire to retain his services, further talks ultimately came to nothing.

Colback, who won a Capital One Cup runners-up medal with the Black Cats in March, said: "I'm absolutely delighted. To come to the team I supported as a boy, my home-town team, will be really special for me.

"It was an opportunity I couldn't let slip. If you asked fans around the world the one thing they'd like to do before they die, it would be to play for the team they support and I've got the chance to do that.

"I've only got good things to say about Sunderland. They gave me my chance and I want to thank the fans and the club for all their support.

"I hope they can understand the chance I've had here to move to my boyhood club. Now I can't wait to pull on the black and white shirt at St James' Park for the first time."

Colback, of course, scored for Sunderland in their second successive 3-0 victory over Newcastle at St James' Park in February, and that may prove difficult for some Magpies' fans to forget.

However, manager Alan Pardew was delighted to get his hands on a player who has interested him for some time.

Pardew said: "I'm extremely pleased to have brought Jack to Newcastle United. He's a great passer, versatile and rarely gives the ball away.

"He's also a local lad and knows exactly what playing for this club means, and at 24 years old, his best years are ahead of him, so I think he'll be a big asset to us."

Colback becomes Newcastle's second summer signing following the capture of 20-year-old Tenerife striker Ayoze Perez.

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