STEVE BRUCE has been sacked as manager of Sunderland following a disastrous run of results.
The Black Cats have won just TWO of their opening 13 Premier League matches this season and lie 16th in the table ï¿½ two points outside the relegation zone.
Saturday's 2-1 defeat to Wigan was the final nail in Bruce's coffin, with fans calling for his head after the Latics came from behind to snatch an injury-time victory.
Black Cats chairman Ellis Short said: "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."
The decision means Bruce is the first Premier League boss to be sacked this season.
Assistant manager Eric Black will take charge of first team duties while Sunderland look for a successor to Bruce.
Martin O'Neill is the 1/2 early favourite to replace Bruce in the Stadium of Light hot seat.
Rafa Benitez is a 7/1 shot, Mark Hughes is at 10/1 and former USA coach Bob Bradley ï¿½ now in charge of the Egypt national side ï¿½ 14/1.
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