See club statement on Simon Grayson’s appointment as manager at this link

https://www.safc.com/news/team-news/2017/june/grayson-named-sunderland-boss

The breathtaking decision taking to allow Jermain Defoe to leave on a free transfer – whoever signed that contract should be strung up – has had its logical consequence: he has joined Bournemouth.

Defoe is a man who knows his own worth and played hard ball by all accounts to get the money, reputedly £65,000 a week, he wanted from that cosy but well-run little club down south. That, and the fact that he will be 35 in October, won’t matter an iota if he does on his return to Bournemouth what he did on loan there, and of course did for us, and scores plenty of goals.

He takes with him from the North East Salut! Sunderland‘s warm best wishes for the future. He served us well and he also proved himself a thoroughly noble character in his friendship with poor little Bradley Lowery.

Here is how the club announced the move:

Jermain Defoe has signed for AFC Bournemouth on a three-year deal.

The striker made 93 appearances in red and white in all competitions, scoring 37 goals while cultivating an ever-lasting relationship with the Sunderland fans.

Defoe, 34, also reignited his England career while on Wearside with Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate recalling him in March 2017, and he did what he does best with a Wembley return resulting in his 20th international goal.

And it’s the goals he’ll be remembered for, with the striker cementing his Sunderland legacy thanks to derby-day magic, hat-tricks and mesmerising solo efforts that will never be forgotten.

He also netted his 150th Premier League goal during his time at the club, and exits Wearside standing seventh on the all-time PL goalscorers list.

Club accolades also fell Defoe’s way and deservingly so, with the England international winning the Player of the Year award in each of his two full seasons on Wearside.

Everyone at the club would like to thank Jermain for his contribution and wish him well for the future.

From the Mirror comes this quote from an open letter written by Defoe: “I feel blessed to have played for such a great football club with some of the best fans I’ve ever come across. The highlight of my time has to be walking out with Bradley against Everton and that volley against Newcastle – a goal people still come up to me and talk about!!

“I want to wish everyone at Sunderland the best for the future. There’s some talented players there and some great youngsters pushing through, so I can’t wait to see you back in the Premier League.”

But no one put it better than our own Pete Sixsmith:

“It wasn’t only Jermain’s form on the pitch that mattered though.

His relationship with Bradley Lowery showed that footballers do have emotional intelligence and the pictures of Bradley and Jermain holding hands with each other, of Jermain carrying Bradley onto the pitch and that incredibly moving one of the pair of them asleep on a hospital bed, will ensure that Jermain Defoe’s name will go down in the pantheon of Sunderland heroes, alongside Ian Porterfield, Charlie Hurley, Jimmy Montgomery and Ned Doig.

He came as a footballer and leaves as a man.”

M Salut, drawn by Matt, colouring by Jake

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Salut! Sunderland is written, illustrated and edited by - and principally for - supporters of Sunderland AFC. The site aims to be sufficiently literate and entertaining to appeal to people who do not follow SAFC but enjoy good football writing.

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