Ha’way back when: Steve Bruce moves into Sunderland hotseat

Steve Bruce
Steve Bruce
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With Sunderland’s managerial situaton very much up in the air, we take a look back at when Steve Bruce took on the Stadium of Light hotseat.

He took over in June 2009 - saying it was his dream job.

The club had only just survived in the Premier League the season before, with Ricky Sbragia at the helm following the departure of Roy Keane in December 2008.

Sbragia resigned after the club’s struggles and owner Ellis Short, who had completed a full takeover of the club from the Irish Drumaville Consortium, appointed Bruce as the new manager.

The Echo reported: New Sunderland boss Steve Bruce has dismissed suggestions that his dream job was to manage boyhood idols Newcastle.

No one in history has ever managed both clubs and by taking on the Sunderland role, Bruce has perhaps ruled himself out of ever becoming boss at St James’s Park.

But Bruce has absolutely no problems with that.

He revealed: “Managing Newcastle has never been my dream as a boss.

“I’m in football management now and I look for the right job more than anything else. And this opportunity at Sunderland has got everything I want - the infrastructure, the fanbase, an ambitious chairman and an ambitious owner.

“Everything you look for as an ambitious manager is here at Sunderland. It’s a big club with a big history, a long tradition and the potential to really go places.

“Sunderland’s a well-run club now from top to bottom and it’s perfectly poised to take the next step and genuinely establish itself in the top flight.”

Bruce had left his job at Wigan to take over the reins at Sunderland, and the Echo reported one of his transfer targets was likely to be his Wigan captain Lee Cattermole.

One of his first signings was Darren Bent, for a club record fee of £10 million. Sunderland started their first season under Bruce strongly, but went 14 games without a win over the winter, and eventually finished 13th, with 44 points.

The 2010-2011 season started strongly for Bruce, who had added Ghana international Asamoah Gyan to the squadf for a new record fee of around £13 million.

Good results had the Black Cats in touch with the European qualification places by the end of 2010, but Bent then left for Aston Villa after disputes over wages he wanted.

Sunderland’s form dipped but they still finished 10th — the highest top-flight finish for 10 years.

The wheels fell off at the start of the 2011-2012 season and Bruce was sacked at the end of November, after two wins from the opening 13 games.

Martin O’Neill soon took over the hotseat.