Official: Bruce Out – dismissed in Sunderland’s ‘best interests’

So Steve Bruce has gone, fired today as the inevitable casualty of his team’s abject failure to get results to match Sunderland AFC’s spending and the supporters’ reasonable expectations. It is not a great day for SAFC, which remains for now in a mess. Salut! Sunderland finally and reluctantly came off the fence after the Wigan debacle and acknowledged the need for change. We had promised to reserve judgement until the end of November; our deadline, the last of the month’s games, passed without trace or hope of improvement.

Now Ellis Short has taken the required action. Or part of it. We wanted the club to have a replacement ready, not run the risk of a leaderless chasm. That was a tall order and no one appears to be lined up to take charge with immediate effect, unless Short has a trick up his sleeve and it is merely a case of dotting Is and crossing Ts. We’ll be watching and praying …

Sunderland are no longer managed by Steve Bruce.

There was no point in repeating the rumours, accurate and well-sourced though they appeared to be. But it is now official, and needs to be recorded.

Ellis Short, owner and chairman of Sunderland AFC, is quoted by the club site as saying this:

“This has been a difficult time for everyone at Sunderland and is not a situation that any of us envisaged or expected to be in. 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.

I would also like to thank our fans, who have endured a trying start to the season. Their support continues to be the driving force behind our club and is vital as we now look to the future.”

Bruce’s assistant Eric Black has been handed caretaker duties until a new appointment is made. That appointment needs to be an impressive one, and it ought to be swift. Ellis Short has made the right decision in bringing Bruce’s rocky reign to an end; he may have plenty of work left to do.

Colin Randall

28 thoughts on “Official: Bruce Out – dismissed in Sunderland’s ‘best interests’”

  1. ‘Short got caught out when Keane walked and I doubt he will have let that happen this time.’

    That’s why I found the timing of the sacking so suprising.

    I’d have understood it a bit better if Bruce had been let go on, say, Sunday or Monday– an immediate consequence. (Though it’s been suggested no-one wanted to take the news cycle away from Gary Speed). But to let him go only a few days before a vital match, for me, is odd.

    I assumed that they’d be looking for a replacement now, perhaps quietly discussing the situation with MON or Hughes, whilst letting Bruce have the opportunity to leave on a high note. That is, if we did manage to beat Wolves and Blackburn (teams that on paper anyway, we should be beating).

    Unless of course they have our man waiting in the wings and are just holding off in the announcement until next week. Starting the new campaign at home maybe?

    At least it’s never boring, supporting Sunderland.

  2. Seems like its between O Neil and Hughes then.Though as tghings tend to turn out, it will probably be neither in the end.

    Not so keen on Hughes ,he hasnt that great a record, an average manager,reminds me a bit of Bruce.O Neil would be an emotional choice,he followed the club as a youngster and the Cloughie link which makes it a tantalising prospect.This club has never us a manager we can REALLY worship and adore…O Neil has the links and that magic touch that could potentially give us the most loved manager since Stokoe.

  3. Bored or not Pete, thats a great idea. It would be the best game at the SoL this season and with the bonus of a new manager at the end of it.

  4. Let’s hope he does Phil , because the ABB’s are now getting a tad worried when names like McClaren and Sven are being bandied about

  5. Pete Sixsmith says:

    “You can see that I am bored!!”

    I can, honestly, say for the first time in months that I am not.

    I’m just hoping that now, though, he has finally gone ES has the courage to appoint the man who would, immediately, create a spark to replace the apathy that has existed on Wearside for months, rather than looking for another “safe pair of hands”.

    Martin O’Neill (IMHO) would fit into the former category, Mark Hughes the latter; although I fully accept that his managerial record is good he just (for me) does not have the X factor that will, immediately, excite supporters and put “bums on seats”

    It is, also, worth remembering, that when recruiting it is normally safe to say that (more often than not) the best you will get is what you aspire to with only the level of disappointment awaiting to be established for the remainder.

    Obviously, with a maverick (such as O’Neill is rumored to be) there are still risks but the potential rewards are so much higher!

    The club were frightened of Cloughie and see where that lead them!

  6. Where is this fight taking place, Hilary? Can we go and see it?
    Why don’t they get both of them up and give each of them 11 players and then play each other for the job- best of 3 games. Play it at The Stadium and encourage people to come along.
    You can see that I am bored!!

  7. See on Yahoo that O’Neill and Hughes are allegedly fighting for the job. Prefer O’Neill of the two, but suspect now that Hughes will get it.

  8. Well now he’s gone , it’s the start of a new era . \\\\\\let’s hope that tehy appoint the right guy as manager , certainly not keen on McClaren or Sven , Hiddinck would be brilliant but I can’t see that hjappening , it will be between Hughes and O’Neill IMO .
    I didn’t want to see us sack Bruce at this point of the season , but whoever we get will have my full support

    Anyone want to buy a ticket for the Wolves match ?

  9. I’ve woken up (it’s just after 8am here) to discover that the club has, finally, taken the action that has, clearly, been necessary for some time.

    Well done ES!

    I, also, found a comment (by a mag) on the Echo site which made me smile – it read, very simply, “Mrs Doubt-fired”.

  10. Incidentally Pete, Boothroyd’s assistant is Andy King. What price for Milton Nunez turning out for the Cobblers soon?

  11. It’s funny you should mention Blackburn. I was just thinking that he will be the perfect replacement for Steve Kean who seems to spend all his time trying to persuade the press that he isn’t going to get the sack. I saw them against Stoke at the weekend, and believe me Steve, you are!

  12. Northampton have pipped us to Adie Boothroyd, while AVB might be available soon. There are plenty of good managers out of work; Gary Johnson, Lou Macari, Mark Cooper, Gordon Strachan, Glen Hoddle, while Easington CW parted company with theirs on Saturday.
    The merry go round starts again. What price Bruce reappearing at somewhere like Blackburn or Coventry in the not too distant future.
    I have abandoned my career as a sooth-sayer; the one on Up Pompeii had more bloody idea than I did.

  13. SAd to see Bruce go because he seemed like a nice guy, but our home form for this year has not been good enough.
    Got to find someone quickly.
    My first choice would be Martin O Neil, but second would be Hughes.
    Just heard Gray on the BBC backing Hughes as his no.1 choice.
    Rafa, Mclaren – no thanks.
    Did someone mention Hiddinck ? Aye – if we can get him!

  14. Black’s who we’ve got in the immediate future so let’s hope he’s realized already that he needs to go in a very different direction from Bruce.
    If it’s true that Hughes is on his way for an interview, a permanent appointment may not be too far off. Hiddinck might not be a bad choice. Better than O’Neill, I think, and certainly better than McLaren or Benitez.

  15. Bruce’s record this year has been awful – there can scarcely have been a worse calendar year in our history. He has consistently blamed others and found excuses for his own tactical ineptitude. He claimed credit for leading us to “our third highest finish for fifty years” but didn’t acknowledge some of the pitiful performances we had to endure during February, March and April.
    I’m glad he’s gone. Surely Highes or O’Neill can move us forward.

  16. BBC. Just confirmed that Black is the interim boss “while the club search for a new manager.” That could mean anything.

    The same site also confirms that Benitez and Hiddinck are attracting money at the bookies.

    I wouldn’t want Benitez in a month of Sundays but any of the others would be good options in my view.

  17. “Surprised that Black has been appointed caretaker– he and Spink travelled up with Bruce, I had expected them to leave as well. Not saying I necessarily want them to leave, it’s just a bit odd.”

    If agree. It’s very odd as these are Bruce’s backroom staff. What surprises me is that given the lag between Saturday and today’s dismissal when is his replacement going to be announced. I would hope that the club is some way down that road right now and would be amazed if significant steps haven’t already been made in that regard. Short got caught out when Keane walked and I doubt he will have let that happen this time.

  18. I’ll be surprised if Black is in charge. They both looked equally clueless in the tech area during games. We know from past experience that when you see the manager and his number 2 discussing tactics we’re stuffed.

  19. Surprised that Black has been appointed caretaker– he and Spink travelled up with Bruce, I had expected them to leave as well. Not saying I necessarily want them to leave, it’s just a bit odd.

    I hope that Mr Short and the board handle this delicate situation well.

  20. It’s overdue but well done Ellis for taking a firm hold of the situation. Eric Black is in charge for Saturday is he Mr Taylor?

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