At the helm: Sbragia guides the Lads

When Roy Keane left the club in November 2008, Sunderland were in desperate need of a steady hand to guide them out of relegation danger.

Enter, Rickey Sbragia.

He began with an unfortunate 1-0 defeat away to Manchester United, but the Lads followed that up with a 4-0 win at home against West Brom and a 4-1 away win at Hull City.

Those results earned Sbragia the job on a full-time basis, with the remit from Niall Quinn to keep the club in the division.

An away draw at Middlesbrough was followed by a home defeat against Aston Villa and then a victory against Fulham to begin 2009.

Djbril Cisse continued to flourish early in Sbragia’s reign and he looked to have given Sunderland a huge victory against fellow relegation candidates Newcastle United at St James Park, but a controversial penalty late in the game gave the Magpies a point.

The disappointment of drawing against Newcastle did not last too long though, as Stoke were dispatched at the Stadium of Light in February.

However, that result was followed by a terrible run of form which saw the lads pick just two points up from a possible 21.

A crucial win at home to Hull City in April was enough to keep Sunderland away from trouble, while their north-east neighbours Newcastle and Middlesbrough were relegated with a whimper.

Sbragia handed his resignation in at full-time on the final day of the season and was promised a job for life by chairman Niall Quinn. He left his post as chief scout in 2011 to join the Scotland National team set up.

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