Former Sunderland captain Lee Cattermole has revealed the truth behind his exit from the club this summer and his decision to join Eredivisie club VVV-Venlo.
The 31-year-old made 262 appearances for the North East club and spent 10 years at the Stadium of Light.
His decision to join VVV will likely have surprised many people but, speaking to The Athletic, the midfielder revealed the truth about his motivation for making the move.
He said: “I could have gone to three or four clubs in the Championship and probably be in the bottom half but it was like moving out of a house you really love and trying to find another one you feel the same about.
“My missus asked me one day, ‘Do you actually want to carry on playing …?’
“I was doing ridiculous stuff to keep fit; running up and down the garden, the dogs chasing me, Claire serving me volleys.
“I was interested in playing in a different country and then heard about VVV. I looked into it, found out about the pitch … but I’ve hardly missed a training session in two years since my hip operation.
“So I came over and loved what they wanted from me. It ticked every box apart from one and the money wasn’t even a discussion.”
Pressed for his feelings about Sunderland, he added: “It’s a brilliant, beautiful club.
“It’s got loads of amazing people, but we needed leaders. Leaders at every level.
“People talk about having leaders in the dressing room but that counts for nothing. Nothing. Unless your club is looking after itself.
“How can we be leading in the dressing room if it’s kicking off everywhere else?”
Cattermole seems to be suggesting he knew it wouldn’t feel right to join another English club other than Sunderland, which Black Cats fans will surely love to hear.
The 31-year-old was a fantastic servant to the club and was extremely loyal, sticking with them while they slipped down the leagues.
It appears that things ended very amicably between the two parties and I’m sure fans of the North East will still have a lot of love for their former captain.