Jack Colback said he hoped Sunderland fans would understand why playing for Newcastle United was "an opportunity he couldn't let slip". The two clubs confirmed his transfer from Wearside to his hometown club on Tyneside last night.
In a statement, he said: "I'm absolutely delighted. To come to the team I supported as a boy, my hometown team, will be really special for me.
"It was an opportunity I couldn't let slip. If you asked fans around the world the one thing they'd like to do before they die, it would be to play for the team they support and I've got the chance to do that.
"I've only got good things to say about Sunderland, they gave me my chance and I want to thank the fans and the club for all their support. I hope they can understand the chance I've had here to move to my boyhood club.
"Now I can't wait to pull on the black and white shirt at St. James' Park for the first time."
More top news
Paul Brand and guests - including two new North East MPs - discuss the Queen's Speech and the Labour/Lib Dem leadership campaigns.
A look ahead at the forecast for the Tyne Tees region.
Health services that dealt with a double murderer should have identified the probability that he would re-offend