Lee Cattermole completed a surprise move to the Eredivisie last week and immediately became a cult hero to the VVV-Venlo fans, particularly after his typically all-action performance on his debut - a 2-1 win at Utrecht.
The former Sunderland midfielder has spoken to The Totally Football Show about the move to VVVV, as well as his time at Sunderland.
Cattermole revealed that the relegation season in the Championship was always going to end badly due to the state of the club, with the player blaming strife at the top of the club for it’s downfall. He went on to explain that getting rid of the losing habit last season - despite not going up - has led to a different feeling around the club:
That season in the Championship, the players who came to Sunderland couldn’t have come to a worse football club. They couldn’t have come and played well because there was so much uncertainty from the top of the club.
You can go forever and look at things from a different angle every day, and each day you’ll have a different thought.
Ultimately the club lost our way a little bit, maybe because of leadership from the very top, but I had eight good seasons there and I’ll never forget that.
Last season was a big season. Up until the last five games we’d only lost twice, we had 18 draws and we should’ve got promoted but we had to stop that losing habit and really turn that around, and there’s a different feeling at the club now.
Cattermole also discussed making the move to VVV and said that he was desperate to move abroad and experience a different lifestyle but that there were Championship clubs hoping to sign him for this season:
I think there were three or four Championship clubs I would’ve gone to for another year, but I 100% wanted to play abroad. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. I wanted that experience.
I had a list of things I wanted from my next move and I made sure I got most of those. So whenever I got an opportunity, I would go back to that list.
That’s what kept my mind clear in terms of making a decision. The league, country, location, lifestyle, money and the coaching opportunity for me – that was the big thing.
This ticked everything barring money! But it was never about that for me.
He is hoping that he can pass on his experience to the younger players at his new club, although he explains how his age held him back from taking full advantage of a good year in League One:
I had a hip operation two years ago, but I had a good season last year. If you’re a younger player playing 30 times and scoring seven goals in League One, which I’d never done before, you probably have a lot of opportunities to go to other clubs.
But if you’re 31, people think that’s a bad thing.
The thing that impressed me about coming here was how much they wanted from me as well [passing on experience], which I think every club needs.
Even if you look at Ajax last year, they brought Dusan Tadic in, had Daley Blind – they’ve had a much better season and sold the younger players on the back of that.