Former Sunderland captain George Honeyman has revealed the truth behind his move to Hull City in the summer and explained that it was driven by the Black Cats’ intent to let him go and the “ruthlessness” of football.
A product of the North East club’s academy system, Honeyman progressed through the age-group sides and went on to make 97 appearances for the first team.
The midfielder was handed the captain’s armband last term and was a key part of their promotion push – making 44 appearances and adding eight goals and three assists.
He left the club to join Hull in a deal worth a reported £400,000 in the summer and, speaking on the latest episode of Roker Rapport, the 25-year-old revealed the truth behind his Stadium of Light exit.
He said: “Wednesday lunchtime, I get a phone call and it’s Hull, Hull have put a bid in for you and I’m thinking ‘Jesus Christ, that’s went quick’, ‘Let us know what Sunderland say and let us know what happens because obviously I have one year left’ and they’re like ‘well surely this will trigger a new contract or what have you’.
“Basically two hours later, Sunderland have accepted the bid and my medical is the next day. I’m kind of thinking ‘blooming heck’, I haven’t even said anything and I’m like to my agent ‘does that mean Sunderland are not going to offer me a new contract or whatever?’ and they’re like ‘no, they’ve accepted the bid’.
“That was basically it, in the space of 12 hours, I was then down in London having my medical with Hull and in the space of two days I had gone from not knowing anything and just thinking about my season ahead with Sunderland to then being a Hull player.
“It was all a bit surreal, like unbelievably quick.”
Honeyman added: “I think the most disappointing thing was obviously I’d had a terrific season last year but at that point Aiden had already signed a new contract and he was 33 or something at the time and I’m 24, I’m captain of the club, I’ve come through the academy.
“Looking back I was kind of thinking ‘well surely I could have been looked after by the club there’ but it wasn’t to be, so they got some money from me, whether the club needed that money I don’t know.
“But to be honest it got to a point where I was having my medical at Hull and I just had to change my mind and think ‘I’m signing for a good club here in the Championship’ and it’s not easy but I had to change my mentality, this is an unbelievable opportunity here, if I go have a good couple of years here you never know what happens.
“I wasn’t happy with how it ended, I can’t lie, but that’s how it was. That’s the business side of footy, that’s the ruthlessness of it.”
Neither Honeyman nor Sunderland have had the most fruitful seasons since the 25-year-old’s summer exit.
Honeyman has been a regular in the Tigers side but looks as if he could be set to drop back down to League One after just one season, with Hull sitting just two points above the relegation zone.
The Black Cats have flirted with the automatic promotion places but inconsistency has been a key issue and they now sit seventh – meaning their hopes could be dashed if League One is curtailed this week.
Can you remember which Sunderland manager signed each of these 15 players? Have a go now!
Honeyman’s exit seemed to come out of nowhere last summer, so it is interesting to hear the 25-year-old’s thoughts on his departure.
Clearly, he isn’t happy about the way the club treated him and has indicated that he didn’t feel like he had much of an option.
At this point, we could still see Honeyman face his boyhood club in either the Championship or League One next term.