Last updated : 17 January 2003 By Martyn Elliott

"We couldn't believe it," Sir Bobby told the Evening Chronicle.

"Distin gave no indication that he was talking to another club.

"He had played for us for seven months and loved everything up here - the team, stadium, fans, everything.

"He knew a contract was coming his way but for some reason he panicked and within 48 hours of our last game of the season at Southampton he had signed for Manchester City."

No matter what you think of Distin now, his absence has had a negative effect on out defence this season.