Premier League club Sunderland have decided to part company with manager Steve Bruce.
Bruce had come under increasing pressure after Sunderland’s poor start to the season was compounded by a 2-1 home defeat against Wigan last weekend.
A statement from club chairman Ellis Short read: “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.”
Assistant manager Eric Black will take charge of the first team until the club appoints Bruce’s replacement.
Former Birmingham and Wigan manager Bruce joined Sunderland in 2009 and led the Black Cats to 10th and 13th-place finishes in the Premier League during his only two full seasons in charge at the Stadium of Light.
He becomes the first manager to be sacked in the English top flight this season.