Former Middlesbrough defender Ben Gibson has posted an open letter to Boro fans on social media after leaving the Riverside for Burnley.
The 25-year-old, who is the nephew of Boro owner Steve Gibson, completed a £15million move to Burnley on Sunday after making 203 appearances for his hometown club.
And the popular defender took to Twitter on Monday to thank the Boro fans for their support.
Read Gibson's open letter below.
"The last few days have been the craziest of my life. Leaving the club that I have supported, love, and have had the honour of representing has been the hardest decision I have ever had to make. I couldn’t leave without thanking everyone connected with the club – the management, the staff, the players and, of course, you the fans.
"As a small boy growing up in the town, and as someone who watched those great players we’ve had over the years and those European nights at the Riverside, I never imagined that one day I would not only play for my hometown club but also have the honour of captaining the team.
I’ve said so many times since I made debut all those years ago that I’ve lived the dream in so many respects and I have so many happy memories of my time with the club, going right back to when I started out as a 10-year-old in the Academy.
"There’s so many people I’d like to thank for what they have done for me– both as a player and as a person. I don’t want to name names because there are so many and I wouldn’t want to miss anyone out. Having said that, I would not be in the position I am today without the vast amount of help I received from Dave Parnaby, Ron Bone, and Paul Jenkins, particularly during my time with the Academy.
"I’d like to thank the club for allowing me the opportunity to move into the Premier League once again. To play in the top-flight for Boro and to wear the captain’s armband was one of the proudest moments of my life. To be part of the team which got relegated was heart-breaking, and something I’ll never forgive myself for being a part of. I was desperate for us to return at the first attempt last season, but it wasn’t meant to be.
That said, nothing will ever replace the feeling of getting promoted two years ago and it was without a doubt the best weekend of my life, and they are memories that will stay with me forever.
Looking forward, the club is in great hands, with great people from top to bottom, and there’s no one hoping that Boro can return to the Premier League more than me. I’ll certainly be following the results, just as I always have.
"Last but by no means least, I’d like to say a special thank you to all the Boro fans. The support you’ve given both the club and myself over the years has been absolutely unbelievable, and I hope you understand my reasoning for moving on. I’m sure you will get the rewards your support deserves, and when you do, I’ll be celebrating with you and for you. There’s something special about coming from Teesside and being a Boro fan, and it’s something to be proud of.
"Now, is the time for me to open a new, exciting chapter in my career at Burnley. As I’ve said, I’ve always dreamed of playing Premier League football, every player wants to test themselves at the highest level, and I’m grateful to Burnley for offering me that opportunity again. I’m looking forward to what I hope will be an exciting future, and I’d like to wish everyone connected with Boro all the best for the future.
"Thank you for everything, the ups and downs, and the general roller coaster we’ve been on for the last few years. This isn’t a goodbye because I’m sure you’ll see me again.