Then-Premier League rivals Newcastle and Sunderland were battling for the signature of Sheffield United’s Matt Kilgallon a decade ago.
For Matt Kilgallon, the 2010 January transfer window feels like a case of ‘what might’ve been’.
Speaking to the Undr The Cosh podcast, the veteran centre-back admits that he made a £3 million move to Sunderland once Newcastle had dropped their interest in a then-Sheffield United star.
Around a decade ago, two North East rivals were going head-to-head for the signature of an impressive defensive talent who looked a cut above in the Championship. But despite interest from a number of Premier League clubs, Kilgallon elected to stay at Bramall Lane for a further six months until the January window.
That decision would eventually cost him the opportunity to pull on the iconic black and white stripes of Newcastle, however, with The Magpies backing away before bitter rivals Sunderland concluded a £3 million deal.
“I had 12 months left on my deal and had Everton, Newcastle and Sunderland interested. But I stayed until the January,” Kilgallon reflected of a time when Steve Bruce was coaching on Wearside rather than Tyneside.
“I didn’t play as well up to the January. My head had gone. It went from Everton, Newcastle and Sunderland interested to letting myself down a little bit on the pitch, and then suddenly it was just Sunderland.
“But Steve Bruce came in for me. I’m thinking a great centre-half, this is perfect. He can teach me and take me to that next level.”
Kilgallon made just seven Premier League appearances in Sunderland colours from January to May in the second half of 2009/10, finding himself farmed out on loan to Middlesbrough just six months after he arrived.
“Pre-season comes and Bruce tells me I’m not going to be involved much this year. I’d only been there since January and they paid £3million for me. I must admit, I made a mistake then,” he adds.“It just never worked out with me and Bruce. I was gutted.”
After spells at Blackburn, Bradford and Doncaster, the now 36-year-old is currently plying his trade in India with Hyderabad.
And you can understand why Kilgallon would go on to rue his ill-fated move to the north east, having embarked on a nomadic career around the Football League after dropping in and out of the Sunderland side during a period of regular loan deals and benchwarming.
Then again, at least he was playing Premier League football. Newcastle, as you might remember, were a Championship team in 2010 and stuck in the midst of one of the worst ebbs in their history.