NEW Sunderland signing Jozy Altidore has wished an emotional farewell to his former club and its fans.
The American striker formally completed his move to the Stadium of Light yesterday, after two goal-filled seasons at AZ Alkmaar in the Dutch Eredivisie.
And he made clear how special his time was at the AFAS Stadion by writing an open letter to fans.
He tweeted: “To my @AZAlkmaar family in the ‘City of Dreams’ please read this letter of thanks for all you’ve given me...”
He then posted a link to his website and a message which read: “To my friends in Alkmaar.
“Thank you so much for the past two years I spent with you all.
“From Day 1 you made me feel so welcome.
“I will never forget the amazing moments and memories created that I was able to share with you all.
“I have grown so much as a man and futbol player the past two years at Alkmaar and I owe it all to my fantastic AZ team-mates and staff.
“I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to represent such a great club and city.
“I wish you all nothing but the best in the future and I will never forget my time in the ‘City of Dreams.’
The 23-year-old’s spell at Altidore has transformed his career.
An expensive move to Villareal when he was still a teenager failed to pay off and loan spells at Hull City and Bursaspor were similarly underwhelming.
But his career took off after he moved to Alkmaar in the summer of 2011.
The club’s coach Gertjan Verbeek was credited with transforming the American’s attitude, fitness and tactical awareness.
And the powerful forward scored 38 goals in 59 league starts (and eight substitute) appearances for the club.
That sort of form has earned Altidore his move to Sunderland and the young striker is already looking forward to making an impact at the Stadium of Light.
But the message penned to AZ Alkmaar demonstrates that he remains hugely appreciative of his time spent at the Dutch club.