OFFICIAL: Steve Bruce sacked
Sunderland owner Ellis Short has this afternoon acted following Sunderland's poor campaign to date, by sacking Steve Bruce.
The Black Cats lost 2-1 at home to Wigan Athletic on Saturday, the latest in a long-line of disappointing results.
Sunderland are currently sat in 16th place in the Premier League with just 11 points from their first 13 league games of the campaign.
Bruce becomes the first Premier League manager to be sacked this season.
It's been a downhill spiral for Bruce and Sunderland since the turn of the year.
The consistent loss of strikers - Darren Bent, Asamoah Gyan and Danny Welbeck, as well as poor luck with injuries have not helped Bruce's case.
However, some baffling team selection decisions, poor signings, inability to sign a striker or play more than one up top have cost the former Manchester United centre-half.
The appointment of Ellis Short as chairman in September saw Niall Quinn step to one side and many saw this as the beginning of the end for Bruce.
A large section of the Sunderland faithful have wanted Bruce out for some time now and this was made painstakingly clear in Saturday's Wigan defeat.
Putting a brave face on it all, Bruce said he would resign 'if it was in the best interests of the club' but denied he would walk away otherwise.
In a rare address to supporters, chairman Ellis released the following statement on the Official Site:
'It is my job as chairman to act in the best interests of our football club at all times and I can assure everyone that this is not a decision that I have taken lightly. Sadly results this season have simply not been good enough and I feel the time is right to make a change.
'Steve has acted with honesty and integrity throughout, which is testament to the character and commitment he has shown during his time at Sunderland.
'I would like to personally place on record my thanks to him for his significant contribution to our football club over the past two and a half years and everyone here at Sunderland naturally wishes him the very best for the future.'
Attention will now turn to Bruce's successor with Martin O'Neill and Mark Hughes appearing to be the early front-runners.
Names as varied as Carlo Ancelotti, Rafa Benitez and Phil Brown have also been touted around early on but at least two of those would need some serious persuading to take charge at the Stadium of Light.
Eric Black will now take charge of first-team affairs.
Bruce might not have been everyone's cup of tea, and although the Wigan defeat and the dour Fulham display were the final straw for me. Bruce is a decent bloke who gave his all. With better signings, who knows? We could've been aiming a lot higher.
Good luck in the future Steve!