Lee Cattermole is hoping he is a Sunderland player for a long time to come after revealing his belief that Gus Poyet can breath fresh life into his stalling career.
The midfielder has endured a difficult season, beginning with total exile, and was close to a switch to Stoke City in January before Ellis Short torpedoed the deal at the final minute.
Cattermole is grateful for the chairman's intervention, though. He told reporters:
I feel as though I'm not far off producing some of my best ever football.
And I just hope that people don't feel all the good work I did against Southampton - and in the cup final and in the first-half against Hull - has been thrown away because of an error or two in the second-half against Hull when we were chasing it.
I'm working as hard as I can on the training pitch, and I feel as though I've learned more in the last four or five months on a new approach to the game, than I've learned in the majority of my professional career.
I'm enjoying it, and I've told the manager that.
I think we're playing some really good football, and I'm looking forward to it continuing.
I'm hoping to get a chance to be involved as much as possible in games and to keep on learning.
It can be difficult to separate what players think they should publicly say from what they actually think, of course, but taken on face value it seems to be a rave review for Poyet. Whether or not that shows how good he is or how bad previous coaching at the club has been is anyone's guess, though.
Cattermole has always been a tough player to judge, and the first line of the above quotes really does sum him up: always on the verge of something, always looking like he could be a player, but never quite being the one we need him to be.
On his aborted January move to the Midlands, Cattermole added:
It all felt a bit rushed to me, and I had a good chat to the manager. He told me he didn't want me to go, and I told him I didn't want to go.
So then it was only going to be a case of whether those higher up wanted it to happen - it was out of our hands if the chairman decided he wanted the move to happen.
But the chairman told me later on that he'd said to the manager "if you don't want Lee to go, then he won't go".
It was certainly the right call for Sunderland to not sell him in January, and he seems genuinely pleased the move didn't happen. Whether or not Poyet is as committed, long term, to Cattermole as he is to Poyet only really the summer will reveal.
With money still tight, salable assets thin on the ground, and a major revamping of the squad once again required this summer, I wouldn't be at all surprised to see that move to Stoke resurrected at the end of the season.