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Page last updated at 06:13 GMT, Monday, 25 May 2009 07:13 UK

Sbragia resigns from Sunderland

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Sbragia steps down at Sunderland

Sunderland manager Ricky Sbragia has resigned from the club despite the Black Cats avoiding relegation.

Sbragia stood down immediately after the side secured their Premier League status following a 3-2 loss to Chelsea.

"I do feel that the club needs a bigger name," said Sbragia. "I took over in a difficult situation. I was asked to keep the club up and I achieved that.

"I could've been selfish and stayed on but I felt it was best for the club for me to step down."

Sbragia took over as boss following the departure of Roy Keane in December 2008.

He initially looked set to guide the club comfortably clear of relegation with two wins in his first three games.

606: DEBATE
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But the Black Cats suffered a dip in form and have won just three more league games this season under Sbragia.

Sunderland are expected to have major finances available for strengthening during the summer and Sbragia felt that he had achieved his aim of Premier League survival and that it was now time to step aside.

"I've loved it," added Sbragia. "There's been a lot of pressure - we started so well and maybe got carried away, losing our focus - but I always thought we were good enough to stay in the Premier League.

"I would like to have finished it with a win but I'm pleased for the players and my staff.

"We've got a foundation and I'll be thoroughly enjoying seeing Sunderland move up that table.

"I'll come back in the next couple of days and tidy things up but I'll enjoy Sunday night and I'll look forward to some time on my own reflecting on what's happened in the last five months."

Hopefully we'll have something positive to say about the club shortly

Sunderland chairman Niall Quinn on the proposed takeover of the club

Quinn praised the job done by Sbragia and insisted he would be keeping him at the club, with a player recruitment role being mentioned.

"Ricky stood up when we needed him," he said. "He's been absolutely superb.

"He was given one task - to keep the club up - and he achieved it. He is Sunderland through and through.

"He's given this club a lifeline. And I'm delighted he's also agreed to work with me in kicking the club on. He's got a job here for life.

"We had a discussion on Saturday and Ricky - typical of Ricky - told me he thought the club needs a bigger name to move the club on."

A proposed takeover of the club by businessman Ellis Short is expected to be completed soon and Quinn hopes to be able to provide developments on that front in the near future.

"It's not quite there yet - but it was all about football this week," said the ex-Sunderland striker.

"I didn't want to throw confusion into the arena - I can't begin to explain what the last five or six months have been like.

"Now is about taking a big deep breath - hopefully we'll have something positive to say about the club shortly."



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see also
Sunderland 2-3 Chelsea
24 May 09 |  Premier League
What's gone wrong in the north east?
22 May 09 |  Football
What now for north-east football?
24 May 09 |  Football


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