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Sunderland fires manager Bruce after poor results

Updated: November 30, 2011, 13:53


Sunderland manager Steve Bruce waits for the start of their English Premier League soccer match against Wigan Athletic at the Stadium of Light, Sunderland, England, Saturday, Nov. 26, 2011. (AP Photo/Scott Heppell)

SUNDERLAND, England(AP) Steve Bruce became the first Premier League manager to lose his job this season when Sunderland fired him on Wednesday following a run of just one win from eight matches.

The northeast club slipped to 16th in the 20-team standings, just two points above the relegation zone, after losing 2-1 at home to Wigan on Saturday.

Bruce bolstered the squad during the offseason with the signings of players including Manchester United duo John O'Shea and Wes Brown but has overseen losses to local rival Newcastle, newly promoted Norwich and Wigan, which moved off the bottom of the standings after its first win since Aug. 27.

"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,'' Sunderland chairman Ellis Short said. "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.''

Assistant manager Eric Black will take charge of the team until Sunderland finds a permanent replacement. Bookmakers immediately rated former Celtic and Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill as favorite for the role.

It is the first time Bruce has been fired since he left Huddersfield in 2000. He has since quit Wigan, Crystal Palace, Birmingham and Wigan again to move clubs.

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