Liam Kennedy: An apology to readers

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A number of my Facebook posts from six years ago have spread like wildfire on Sunderland AFC forums and social media.

And rightly so.

Looking back at those comments I'm ashamed. It embarrasses me to see my name against such abhorrent language online.

The pathetic, infantile posts were penned before I was a professional journalist. I am a different person now. It was a long time ago.

Not to make light of the situation, but they were seen as jokes among friends. The subject matter may have been derogatory, but it was not ever directed towards anyone in particular.

I was young, daft and trying to be clever. It turns out, putting things like that online was not so clever at all.

In the time since those social media messages I have started a family and have a beautiful fiancee and three amazing children.

I took this job not only because it was a fantastic, rare opportunity to work at a brilliant title, and get my teeth into the coverage of a massive Premier League club, but also to make a better life for my family. To bring my kids closer to home.

I'm a Newcastle United fan, that I cannot hide. But that does not mean I cannot cover Sunderland AFC with all of the commitment and passion I did in Dundee, as well as elsewhere across the UK.

I'm yet to support a club that I have covered as a professional. Personal persuasion has never once clouded my judgement, nor will this ever be the case.

I can promise you I will put everything into my work covering SAFC.

If they play well, my copy will reflect that.

If they don't, I'll be the man to stand up and criticise.

It will all be done without bias, with no malice and with 100% impartiality. You have that guarantee.

I love my job. Very few people have the pleasure of leaving work every day having enjoyed every minute of what they have done. For that I am very grateful.

This publication has put its trust in me and I aim to repay that. I feel genuinely honoured to cover Sunderland AFC.

I am 100% committed to providing Sunderland fans with the best possible coverage of their football club, and continuing the amazing work the Echo sport desk does day-in, day-out.

Despite my black and white leanings I want this football club to succeed.

I am from this area. And believe me when I say this - I love North East sport.

Nothing gets me more excited, exasperated and emotional than Wear-Tyne derbies, I'm sure many of you out there will know the feeling. Maybe in the distant past I have let that get the better of me, for that, all I can do is say sorry.

I am offering a whole-hearted apology to readers who are offended and angry. I hope you will support the work I do in a job that I am extremely honoured to have.