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Roker Roundup: Celtic star talks about how close he came to joining Sunderland on deadline day

In-favour Celtic and Scotland winger Ryan Christie has been talking about how close he came to moving to Sunderland last year on deadline day.

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Celtic star on failed Sunderland move

Celtic forward Ryan Christie has hit his stride with the Scottish champions since breaking into the side at the beginning of last season, scoring 27 and assisting a further 20 since then.

The Scottish international almost joined Sunderland on the August transfer deadline day in 2018 as he looked for first team football, but after the window closed he got a chance in the side and took it.

Speaking to The Times, Christie revealed how close he came to joining, explaining how he had been told that he may have to leave training to head to the Academy of Light should a move come to fruition.

However the sale of Moussa Dembélé to Lyon scuppered a prospective move and Christie stayed and revitalised his career:

It’s strange when I look back at last summer and think of how different it could have all gone, at the start of the transfer window, there was talk of me joining Aberdeen on a permanent deal and then, if John McGinn had gone to Celtic from Hibs, there was talk of me going the other way. And there was the Sunderland talk as well.

That went right down to deadline day, when I was told to stay here and fight for my place. It was strange at the time but I’m pretty delighted with how it panned out.

On deadline day I was pretty up and down. I came into training not knowing what would happen. The English window closed earlier than ours, so I’d been told if I was going to Sunderland then I’d have to get off the training pitch and jump in a car.

It was pretty mad that day. Brendan Rodgers sat me down and told me that Moussa Dembélé was leaving and said I’d be needed here and that all other interest was off.

At the start of the season, when there were a few weeks left in the window, I was sitting in the stands and, after playing regularly for Aberdeen it was hard to adjust back to not even making the match-day squad.

I felt frustrated and, at that point, I was thinking it was maybe time for a fresh start somewhere else. But after the manager told me I still had a fighting chance to prove myself, that was all I needed to know because I was still desperate to show my worth to Celtic.

Rangers vs. Celtic - Betfred Cup Final Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group via Getty Images

Brady discusses early retirement

Kieron Brady looked set for a long and successful career with Sunderland before injury hit and forced him to retire at the young age of 21.

He has been discussing his experiences with the Irish Independent and revealed how difficult it was to cope with his premature retirement but believes he did come of the other side as a stronger person:

I don’t think any young footballer envisages a football career as far as the age of 21. When you dream about it, imagine it, you see it as prolonged and as successful as possible, and in the early stages of my career it seemed to be going reasonably or very well. But then you have to deal with the aftermath of having to retire prematurely, even though you were conscious it could happen and on a human level it was difficult to address. In my youthful naivety I wasn’t prepared to enter into any conversations or counselling about the emotional rollercoaster which came later.

I don’t think you need to impress on parents or guardians the potential of a career-ending injury, but the depths of despair that come from it need to be looked at, it certainly affected me and I wasn’t willing to volunteer that information to my family, I didn’t want them to worry about my mental state. I am glad now I feel as content as I ever did in my adult life and those experiences, that adversity, helped shape that and created a greater resilience.

I had to retire when I was 21. I was still an immature young man, it was traumatic even if I wasn’t willing to conform to that at the time but I am still very grateful for what I managed to do and achieve.

After his career came to an end, Brady turned to alcohol but despite becoming an alcoholic, he believes the alcoholism is something that would have happened to him regardless of how his football career had come to an end:

I would have been an alcoholic regardless of what happened in my football career, I firmly believe that I and others who are afflicted by alcoholism are pre-disposed to it from the moment they are born. What these events can do is prompt you to use alcohol and in a situation like mine, there is comfort to be taken as you feel the people around you will understand why you are using alcohol as coping mechanism.

There is a world of difference between someone drinking heavily and someone being afflicted by alcoholism. And I fall into the latter category. It may well be that my football career having to stop so suddenly allowed me to use alcohol which in turn brought me and alcoholism into collision. But I would have been an alcoholic regardless.

I have been sober for over 10 years now and so much of what I do now is guiding people through the recovery programme from alcoholism. And that’s way beyond anything I achieved in football, it’s the most rewarding thing I have ever done.

Kieron Brady - Sunderland Photo by Mark Leech/Getty Images

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