STEVE BRUCE said it was never in doubt that he would sign a new contract at Sunderland, after last night agreeing a two-year extension to his current deal.
The Black Cats boss originally signed a three-year deal in June, 2009, and was just over halfway through that when the club opened talks on a longer stay.
Last night, Bruce agreed a deal which will extend his stay a further two years – until summer, 2014.
And he told the Echo: “I’ve been very, very happy here and it was never in doubt as far as I was concerned that I would agree to an extension.
“I think we were all pretty relaxed about it – Niall, the owner and myself, and we were happy to put it to one side in the January transfer window while we were looking to bring in new signings.
“But with the close of the transfer window, we’ve been quick to get it out of the way.”
Fifty-year-old Bruce has led Sunderland to seventh in the Barclays Premier League table this season with the club aiming for a top half finish for the first time in ten years.
Since taking up his post at the Stadium of Light, he has overseen the purchase of 13 new players on permanent contracts, with 15 moving on to new clubs.
Intelligent loan signings have also underpinned the Black Cats’ progress with Sunderland losing just twice at home in the top flight in the whole of 2010.
Bruce said: “I’m delighted to have signed a new contract. It’s a magnificent club from top to bottom, with wonderful support and everything is in place here for a manager. We have the makings of a fantastic young team.
“It’s been a great challenge so far and one that my backroom team and I have relished so we’re looking forward to continuing with that over the next few years.”
Sunderland chairman Niall Quinn said: “It was hugely important to bring stability to this football club and I firmly believe that in Steve we have the man to do just that.
“In only 18 months he has re-shaped our squad beyond recognition, bringing in some fantastically talented players, many of whom are young and desperate to achieve and improve.
“He embodies the ethos of teamwork and the importance of camaraderie in creating a wonderful spirit of togetherness amongst the players and staff.
“As someone born and bred in the North East he fully understands the unique passion for football in this region.
“He has already raised the aspirations of not only the players but also the supporters and instilled a belief in everyone that we can go on to achieve the sustained success that we all crave for this club.
A former-Manchester United captain under Sir Alex Ferguson, Bruce won three Premier League titles and three FA Cup winners’ medals as a player before going on to manage Sheffield United, Huddersfield Town, Wigan Athletic, Crystal Palace and Birmingham City, arriving at the Black Cats following a second spell with Wigan between 2007 and 2009.