Sunderland 'Til I Die: Lewis Grabban admits 'selfish' reasons may have played part in controversial exit

Lewis Grabban admits he was 'maybe a bit selfish' over his Sunderland exit last January.

Monday, 17th December 2018, 4:29 pm
Updated Monday, 17th December 2018, 4:38 pm
Grabban opens up on his Sunderland exit in the remarkable new Netflix documentary

The Nottingham Forest striker made the candid comments as part of the Sunderland 'Til I Die documentary, currently streaming on Netflix.

Grabban was recalled from a prolific loan spell on Wearside by parent club Bournemouth, with statements from both clubs saying that the player had asked to return.

Grabban rejected that at the time but in episode five admits that he had growing concerns over life under Chris Coleman.

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Bournemouth were also thought to be keen to cash in on his form; Wolves linked with a permanent deal.

"The main reason was that I got called back," he said.

"I would have stayed if I needed to stay.

"I didn't dislike playing at Sunderland, at all.

"But little things did start to make me question how the second half of the season was going to go.

"If you haven't really spoken to the new manager when he comes in, if you get taken off, I was starting to get whipped off at 65,70 minutes.

"I was thinking, 'I'm not sure that's for me'.

"Maybe it's a bit selfish but I just thought, nah."

Grabban made six appearances under Coleman, and was substituted in three of those games.

Against Fulham, he and James Vaughan were famously replaced by youngsters Josh Maja and Joel Asoro in the 73rd minute.

Maja scored the winner as Sunderland finally won their first home game in almost a year.

Grabban was then taken off during the following home game in the 74th minute, despite earlier scoring in a 1-1 draw with Birmingham.

Against Wolves, he was taken off after 84 minutes, with Sunderland a man down and protecting a 0-0 scoreline following a red card to Lee Cattermole.

Coleman was blunt in his comments after Grabban's departure, saying: "As I’ve said from the get-go, why should I go down on my hands and knees to convince anybody to be with us, even though we are at the bottom of the league?

“Yes, it’s hard and it’s tough.

“But if they don’t want to be with us, that’s how it is."

Sunderland badly missed Grabban, who eventually joined Aston Villa on deadline day in another loan deal.

He scored eight goals as Villa pushed for promotion and he has since moved to Nottingham Forest in a permanent deal.

Since making the switch to the City Ground he has been prolific, scoring 15 goals in 22 appearances.

Coleman faces criticism later in the series for his handling of the situation from Aiden McGeady.

"Even if you don't like Grabbs as a person, but you know he's valuable to the team because he's scored 12 goals - manage the player," McGeady said.

"I think the manager thought that Grabbs was disposable and we'd get someone else in who could do the same job, but that never happened."

The series also highlight's Grabban's return to the Stadium of Light a few months later.

Grabban scored in a convincing 3-0 win for Aston Villa, and admitted his delight at getting on the scoresheet.

He said: "You want to score in every game, especially against your old teams.

"Yeah, I was happy to do that.

"I can't deny it."