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Manager Steve Bruce’s first season in charge of the Black Cats proved a tough but moderately successful one, with the spectre of relegation rarely haunting his team and their final 13th place seeing them fourteen points clear of the drop zone.
The side were heavily, perhaps too heavily, reliant on the goals of Darren Bent. But he proved well worth the £10m Sunderland paid Tottenham for his services.
Results such as the home wins over Liverpool and Arsenal and being seconds away from a famous win at Manchester United suggested Sunderland were capable of a comfortable top-half finish. But they were not consistent enough, especially in the middle months of the season.
Bruce has made another eight-figure signing to augment Sunderland’s strike force, with the acquisition of Ghanaian World Cup star Asamoah Gyan, one of the genuinely big performers on the South African stage.
Gyan will be seen as a replacement for the talented but ultimately underachieving Kenwyne Jones, who has attract £8m from Stoke City for his services.
At the back, Nedum Onuoha is one of Bruce’s four summer loan signings, moving to the North-East from big-spending Manchester City. Ghanaian John Mensah has had his loan from Ligue 1 club Lyon extended to provide the experience that the 23-year-old Onuoha may lack. And Titus Bramble has been given the opportunity to replicate his form under Bruce’s tutelage from Wigan.
In contrast to some recent seasons, the Black Cats net transfer spend has been minimal. So if Sunderland are to threaten the European places this season, players such as Kieron Richardson, Anton Ferdinand and others will have to be at their impressive best rather more often than they were last year.
You can find out whether they will, here with us on the Live Sports Network.
A Brief History
One of the oldest football clubs in English football, Sunderland were formed back in 1879 by a Glaswegian schoolteacher named James Allan. They were the first club to be elected into the Football League following the league‘s formation.
In all, the club has won six league titles, with the last coming in 1935-36 season. Sunderland won the FA Cup the next year with an impressive 3-1 victory over Preston North End. The period after WWII saw Sunderland decline, with the club getting relegated to the second division for the first time in its history. However the club slowly turned things around, winning promotion to the first division in 1964, but was once again relegated six seasons later. Sunderland then became the first team to win the FA Cup from outside the top division since 1931, beating Don Revie’s all-star Leeds United 1-0 in the 1973 final.
The next few years saw the club gain promotion (in 1976) get relegated the next year and again get promoted in 1980. The club came close to winning its first League Cup in 1985, but lost out 1-0 to Norwich City in the final.
Since then, Sunderland’s history has seen relegations, promotions, and another FA Cup final appearance in 1992 where Liverpool proved too strong coming out on top by two goals to nil.
In 1997, Sunderland left Roker Park, their home for almost a century, and moved to the newly built Stadium of Light. The 42,000-seater stadium was the biggest new stadium built in England since WWII and large attendances saw Sunderland reach the EPL, suffer relegation, and rise again to the top flight.
With new American owner Ellis Short and a passionate chairman in Niall Quinn, the team have received considerable financial backing since their return to the EPL in 2008, under Irish manager Roy Keane and his replacement, the very capable Steve Bruce. Fans will hope that this money will have been spent wisely in the long-term and that it produces some stability over the coming decade, preferably in the EPL.
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Tags: Sunderland live, live Premier League, Steve Bruce, Darren Bent, Asamoah Gyan, Kenwyne Jones, Nedum Onuoha, John Mensah, Titus Bramble, Kieron Richardson, Anton Ferdinand, Sunderland, FA Cup, live Sunderland