Sbragia accepts new role at Sunderland

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Former Sunderland boss Ricky Sbragia has been appointed as Steve Bruce's new chief scout.

The Black Cats confirmed on Wednesday that the Scot had agreed to head up the club's coaching set-up after being promised a job for life following his stint as first-team boss last season.

Bruce said: "Ricky has a wealth of knowledge and experience and I'm delighted that he will be heading up our scouting operation. He has a vast network of contacts and he knows just what it takes to be a successful footballer at this club, so I'm sure he will be a fantastic asset to our backroom team."

Sbragia will succeed Mick Brown, who left the club earlier this month as part of a reshuffle in the wake of Bruce's appointment as the former Manchester United and Bolton coach's successor.

He first joined the club in 1994 as youth team coach and later took charge of the reserves. He returned as first team coach in 2007 under Roy Keane, and was asked to take over as caretaker manager following the Irishman's departure in December last year.

A narrow 1-0 defeat at United in his first game in charge was followed by a 4-0 home victory over West Brom and a 4-1 win at Hull, and after he guided the Black Cats to a 0-0 draw with Blackburn on Boxing Day, chairman Niall Quinn offered him the job on a permanent basis.

Sbragia reluctantly accepted, but went on to win just three of the remaining 19 Barclays Premier League games as Sunderland slipped into the battle for top-flight survival.

Their status was secured on the final day of the season despite a 3-2 home defeat by Chelsea, and within minutes of the final whistle, he stood down.

Quinn was at pains to stress just how important a role Sbragia had played as new owner Ellis Short completed his takeover and Bruce was recruited, and he was desperate to keep him on board.

The new manager too was keen to retain his expertise, saying last week: "I am revamping the scouting at the club - I think it is vitally important part, especially today - and I have offered Ricky the head role in that. I sincerely hope he does [take it] because he is a very genuinely good man and good at his job."

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West Bromwich Albion
Blackburn Rovers
Bolton Wanderers
Premier League
Steve Bruce
Manchester United
Roy Keane
Hull City

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