In the summer of 2014, Newcastle pulled off the controversial signing of former Sunderland midfielder Jack Colback on a free transfer.
A product of the Sunderland academy, Colback had established himself as a solid player for the Black Cats after two loan spells with Ipswich Town. In his final season, he scored three goals in 33 games for the club and with his contract running out, it looked as though Newcastle had pulled off a smart piece of business.
After having become one of the best players for their rivals, signing the smart midfielder was a fairly controversial move. Here’s what the Newcastle fans had to say following his arrival…
@NUFC awesome! Good signing. Good progress with these first 2. Let's have a cabaye and remy replacement n'all
— Mike Bach (@michael_bach) June 9, 2014
— Anthony (@Anthony42910644) June 9, 2014
Jack Colback is a solid free signing for #nufc and a step up from Gosling. Looked one of Sunderland's best players against us last season.
— Dan Robinson (@Dan89Robinson) June 9, 2014
He may not be a star name but Jack Colback a good signing for #nufc. Tidy footballer and as a boyhood.fan, he knows what is expected of him
— Luke Edwards (@LukeEdwardsTele) June 9, 2014
— Danny marris (@dannymarris68) June 9, 2014
When he signed for Sunderland, Colback became the first player to make the switch to Newcastle since Lionel Perez in 1998. Notably, Colback had scored against Newcastle in the derby which was probably the high point of his Sunderland career.
The midfielder made his debut against Man City as he play the whole game, albeit Newcastle losing 2-0. In his first season with the Toon, Colback made an instant impact as he played 35 games, while also having a hand in 11 goals. He continued to be an integral part of the side as he played 29 games in his second season with the club.
The midfielder didn’t manage to replicate the form he had shown in his first season with the side during his third and final year in Newcastle. Despite having Rafa Benitez at the helm, the Spaniard couldn’t stop the side from slipping into the Championship.
He was deemed as a bit part player by Benitez the following season and was even relegated to training with the youth sides. He spent the second-half of the season on loan with Nottingham Forest and has once again, returned to the Midlands side this season.
For a player that had become a solid player for Sunderland and had made a good start to life at Newcastle, it’s surprising that his career with the Toon has come to such a poor end. His contract runs out next year and he will likely leave the club. It seems the Newcastle fans were wrong to be so excited by his arrival.