'Bleeds red and white!': Sunderland fans pay tribute to Grant Leadbitter in emotional farewell messages
Sunderland fans have paid tribute to midfielder Grant Leadbitter, who will depart the club this summer.
The 35-year-old came through the ranks at the Stadium of Light and burst onto the first-team scene in 2006 under Mick McCarthy – delivering a number of priceless moments during the club’s time in the Premier League and Championship.
Leadbitter would later go on to represent Ipswich Town and Middlesbrough before joining the Black Cats in 2019.
But with his contract set to expire at the end of June, the midfielder will soon depart the club.
Supporters were quick to pay tribute to Leadbitter though, and praised his efforts both on and off the field during his time at the Stadium of Light.
Indeed, many are keen to see the boyhood Sunderland fan remain at the club in some role moving forward.
Here’s a number of the emotional farewell messages posted by supporters on social media:
@geoffreygibson1 said: “gutted to see Grant Leadbitter go he has been a fantastic servant for the club”
@bamgboyeolu added: “Grant Leadbitter has been a great servant when he came in he had time to touch his dad ashes, won the Papa Johns Trophy meant a lot to him. Good luck to him”
@JordanGowling29 tweeted: “Grant Leadbitter an absolute servant to this club, the lad bleeds red and white like the rest of us. I hope to see him back in a coaching role if that's the way he want to continue his career in football"
@Philip_RJ89 posted: “It’s sad to see Grant Leadbitter departing, because nobody would’ve wanted to sign off with promotion more than him. Would love to see him back at the club in some capacity, maybe a coaching or ambassadorial role, in the future. Thanks for everything, Grant”
@ajwallaceoct79 commented: “A proper, and I mean proper Sunlun lad is Grant Leadbitter. Lucky to have played for his boyhood club over two spells. Good luck for the future”
@mewesrob added: “Thanks for everything Grant. I'm sure you'll return in some capacity in the future and help fulfill our long term plans”
@Sabrina5837371 said: “A Sunderland lad who achieved his dream and then came back to help us when we needed his experience and commitment . So near - thank you Grant”
@WeAreWearside posted: “Fully expected Leadbitter to be released and it was probably the correct decision, but I can’t help but feel gutted. Top bloke who gave his all for this club over two spells. I wish he could have ended on a high.”
@ldinsdale98 tweeted: “Deserved a much happier ending. A fantastic representative of our club.”
@JakePoole commented: “Didn’t get the credit he deserved this season, classy player and a classy bloke.”
@BealeMassingham said: “Hope we see him back in some capacity, personally! Love him. Legend”
@MorganGraySAFC added: “Thanks for everything Grant. An absolute club legend and gonna be missed by all the fans”
@SCookie555 posted: “Top, top professional, superb football brain - just wish the rest were on his wavelength. He'll be as gutted as we all are that he couldn't help get the job done, but at least with him we know he never ever gave less than 100%. All the best Grant!”