SUNDERLAND are poorer this season for the loss of midfielder Jack Colback to rivals Newcastle United, says former Black Cats chairman Niall Quinn.
And the Irishman, who still retains huge affection for the club he played for, managed and chaired, says that it will be painful on Sunday watching the former Academy player taking on his old Black Cats team-mates.
“I feel a bit for Gus Poyet,” Quinn told the Echo.
“Losing Jack Colback was undoubtedly a blow.
“He had been a really strong player for Sunderland for three years.
“And we didn’t bring him through and work on him to make Newcastle stronger!
“He and Jordan Henderson have been the pick of our Academy players in recent years and we got good money from Liverpool for Jordan, but to lose Jack for nothing certainly hurt.
“Something went wayward there.”
Quinn says his issue isn’t about which club Colback chose to join, but that he was allowed to leave at all.
“I’ve got no problem with him going to Newcastle and I said at the time he would make an England squad because he’s getting to that stage where he can take a game by the scruff of the neck.
“But from a Sunderland point of view, we’re very proud of our Academy products and to see Newcastle benefiting from that and us getting nothing in return, it’s difficult.
“It’s a shame for us because he was just becoming the player we knew he could be.”
Sunderland fans in general, it’s fair to say, rarely held Colback in the same esteem – though his popularity certainly took a boost when he scored last season in the Black Cats’ 3-0 win over the Magpies at St James’s Park.
But Quinn believes Colback is very much a class act, even if Sunderland fans are unlikely to appreciate his quality when he turns out in black and white for the Tyne-Wear derby this weekend.