The Championship: 2006-07
Sunderland returned to the top flight at the first time of asking after Roy Keane steered the club to a memorable title-winning campaign.
After failing to appoint a manager ahead of the new season, chairman Niall Quinn decided to take charge of the Black Cats’ first five games of the season, but unfortunately it didn’t go according to plan.
Quinn famously sacked himself after he failed to win any of the games in charge, with the major low point coming in the League Cup as the Lads lost 2-0 at Bury.
But the Irishman stuck true to his word and appointed a ‘world-class name’ in the form of Manchester United legend Roy Keane who was set for his first job in management.
Keane watched from the stands as the Lads saw off West Bromwich Albion at home before taking to the dugout for the first time at Derby County.
Buoyed by a host of new faces, Sunderland came from behind to see off the Rams.
But while Keane ensured life with him at the helm got underway with a winning start, it wasn’t to be maintained as Sunderland struggled to climb up the table.
Indifferent form saw the Lads lie 12th going into the New Year, but that proved to be a new chapter as the club began their ascendancy.
A 2-0 win at Leicester City on New Year’s Day inspired Sunderland to go on a 17-game unbeaten run which included key wins over Hull City, Cardiff City, West Bromwich Albion, Derby County and Wolverhampton Wanderers.
A common trait of Keane’s side was their ‘never-say-die attitude’ and that was evident with the amount of late goals Sunderland scored – most notably at Southampton as Grant Leadbitter and Carlos Edwards struck late on to overturn a 1-0 deficit on the south coast.
Sunderland’s fine run of form came crashing to a halt at Colchester United – as they lost 3-1 – but the visit of Burnley the following week proved to be a special, special night for all involved.
Daryl Murphy got the Lads on their way before David Connolly’s missed penalty gave Burnley the encouragement to get themselves back into the game.
Andy Gray levelled with his own penalty and then Wade Elliot smashed in from 25 yards to put the visitors ahead.
Connolly converted his second penalty when Edwards was felled before the Trinidad and Tobago star lit up the show with a sublime angled drive from range.
Results elsewhere went in the club's favour and 24 hours later promotion was secured.