410 app ex-Sunderland, Celtic and Leeds United star's fantastic message to Black Cats fans

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The former Sunderland player was handed a major honour last week - and was quick to acknowledge supporters.

Former Sunderland favourite Micky Gray has sent a heartwarming message to Black Cats fans after receiving a major honour.

Gray, who came up through Sunderland's youth system to earn 410 appearances in all competitions for his boyhood club, was recently inducted into the Hall of Fame, alongside Steph Bannon, Gary Bennett and others.

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The 49-year-old won two promotions with Sunderland as a first-team player between 1992 and 2004 before enjoying stints with Leeds United, Blackburn Rovers and Celtic.

“It is very special, it is nice to be honoured. I spent a lot of time here as a young lad, as a supporter first and foremost and then coming as a player and living everybody’s dream I suppose," Gray told The Echo at Sunderland's Hall of Fame awards dinner, organised by Rob Mason.

“The accolades always seem to come after you have played your career but it is always nice and it is a special moment without a doubt.”

When asked about whether he and fans alike were now able to look back at his Sunderland stint with more appreciation in hindsight following his retirement, he joked: “Yeah! People are a lot nicer…”

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“Especially when we used to lose matches, I think people certainly used to give us their piece but you understand that as a player. It is part of the job but when I come back now it is always special.

“I get the opportunity to come back quite often now with work and stuff but when I am here, I am still a fan even though I am working but they are special times at the moment, and I am enjoying it.”

“Well, that’s it, it's memories now,” Gray said when asked about the feeling of coming back to the Stadium of Light. “ When you walk through the doors at the Stadium of Light, you still feel like a player. That feeling will never leave you.

“You’re still kicking every ball that the players are kicking and you’re still tackling with them and it just has that feel about it. It is a passionate place as you know and they love their football and I’m one of them. That is what it’s all about.”

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