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Sunderland’s Will Grigg sends defiant message

This article is part of Football FanCast’s Pundit View series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent quotes from journalists, pundits, players and managers…

Will Grigg has sent a message to Sunderland fans after his terrible start to life at the Stadium of Light.

What’s the word?

You could forgive Sunderland fans for thinking Grigg was going to fire them to promotion last season.

Signed in January for a relatively big fee in League One (£4m), the 28 year-old has a lethal record in the third tier and looked to be in a prime position to guide the Black Cats up.

Of course, he didn’t, scoring just four times in 18 games, but he has now sent a message thanking fans for sticking by him, as reported by The Chronicle: “I have nothing but positive things to say about the manager and hopefully I repay him for that (his faith) this season.

“It means a lot that the fans are sticking with me too. It must have been frustrating for them. I came in with a big price tag and it didn’t quite happen for me.

“To see the support the other day [at Burnley], it’s been massive. I just want to let them know I appreciate it.”

United front

After heartbreak at Wembley both in the Checkatrade Trophy final and the playoff final, it would be easy for Grigg to lose faith.

Plenty of fans are already turning on manager Jack Ross, and it’s not hard to imagine the players could echo that sentiment, feeling that after two huge setbacks last season it maybe just isn’t meant to be under the Scot.

And once divides start between the players, fans and manager there is really no going back, just ask world-class managers like Jose Mourinho or Rafael Benitez.

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Yet, Grigg’s defiant message tells us two things.

First, he is determined to pay the fans back for his hefty price tag by scoring the goals he was brought in to deliver.

Second, and perhaps more importantly, one of the players struggling most under Ross has total trust in his manager, a sure-fire sign that the gaffer has the complete backing of the dressing room.

So, while Grigg’s words may seem like a standard attempt to appease fans’ concerns, they really tell us that the squad harmony is stronger than ever, something that is sure to aid the side in their push for promotion.

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Article title: Sunderland’s Will Grigg sends defiant message

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