As I write this, Davide Santon is seemingly about to sign for Sunderland.

Andros Townsend just left us for Crystal Palace.

Both go with my blessing. Not that they need it.

I find both transfers incredibly sad and for one main reason.  Once loved Newcastle United players seem to have become overnight hate figures but Santon in particular because he is daring to join our biggest footballing rivals.

Players will join Sunderland no matter how unbelievable or even distasteful it sounds to us. Even ex-Newcastle players will join them. Damn even Ex-Toon managers will join them because like it or not, they’re a good football club and the Premier League is better off with all 3 of the so-called bigger clubs of the North East in there.

Yes I always look for the Sunderland results on a Saturday afternoon and a loss for Sunderland means almost as much to me as a Newcastle win. That’s the rival fan in m’e, the part of me that is tribal, but frankly it’s been a lean period for both of our clubs in the last ‘few years. Newcastle eventually fell through the trapdoor and after this, I am done with going through a season hoping that this year is finally the season they go down.  I’m done with it.

If we’re on to a good thing with Rafa Benitez (and we are) then the mackems are in safe hands under Big Sam and that is simply because he is a better fit for that club, the same might just be true for Santon.  Plus with his Geordie girlfriend, Davide no doubt still has links in the north east so for him the move makes sense.

I’m not saying we should all lay aside our bitter differences and rivalries as this is what makes the Tyne/Wear derbies special. I just think that some people need to just pause and think that maybe we need to turn a blind eye to the green-eyed monster, every time a player or manager who was once associated with our club in some way, later chooses Sunderland Football club as their next employer,

Steven Harper will always be a club legend. Santon will go down as another one from the Pardew regime who got away and didn’t quite reach his potential here. Van Aanholt only had a brief spell here on loan and as for Townsend who went down south to Palace… well we only have ourselves to blame for that one.

Let the mackems and those who leave us take care of themselves and let’s just remember them for the good times. I’m very sure that we will he back to meet them in 2017/2018 with Rafa in the Premier League.

You can follow the author on Twitter @jonniegrieve.