Monday 03 June 2013
Premierleague.com rifles through the annals of the Barclays Premier League to find significant events.
Steve Bruce left Wigan Athletic to take charge of Sunderland. The former Manchester United captain succeeded Ricky Sbragia, who had stepped down two weeks earlier after narrowly steering Sunderland away from relegation.
"I have worked more than 10 years for a chance like this"
Sbragia had taken over when Roy Keane had resigned as manager in December and had enjoyed a good start but Sunderland’s form tailed off and they finished the 2008/09 season in 16th, five places below Bruce’s Wigan.
"It didn't take much persuasion,” Bruce said of his appointment. “This is the perfect step with the size of the football club and structure. I've worked more than 10 years for a chance like this. It's up to me to put a team on the pitch now. I can't wait to start.
"I just want to continue the progression of the club over the last few years. An average [crowd] of 42,500 shows what kind of support we have.”
Bruce’s Sunderland won four of their first seven matches of the 2009/10 season and were in sixth at one time but a run of 14 matches without a win during the middle of the campaign meant they finished 13th.
The next season Bruce guided Sunderland to 10th, their highest finish in 10 years, but a poor start to the 2011/12 campaign led to his exit. Bruce returned to management with Hull City in the Championship a year ago and led the team back to the Barclays Premier League at the first attempt.