STEVE Bruce has been sacked as Sunderland manager after the club’s dire run of form.
Bruce, who spent two and a half years in charge of the club, suffered abuse from sections of the fans during and after Saturday’s last-gasp 2-1 defeat by Wigan at the Stadium of Light.
Sunderland have struggled throughout 2011, winning only three home league games.
In total, Bruce won 29 of his 98 matches in charge, drawing 28 and losing 41.
The Black Cats boss had hoped he would be allowed the chance to turn things around.
He was planning for this Sunday’s game at Wolves only to be relieved of his duties by owner Ellis Short on Wednesday afternoon.
Short released a statement, saying: “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.”
With Bruce gone, assistant manager Eric Black will take charge of first team duties for the immediate future.