Sunderland confirm Roy Keane departure | inside World Soccer

Sunderland confirm Roy Keane departure

Friday, December 5, 2008

Roy Keane finally resigned as manager of Sunderland after the Premier League club's disappointing start to the season.

Keane has been under pressure following a recent poor run of form. Sunderland have lost six of their last seven matches which has seen the Black Cats slip into the relegation zone in the Premier League.

The Irishman had been in talks with chairman Niall Quinn and the rest of the board over the past couple of days and the discussions have resulted in the manager's departure.

The former Manchester United captain was appointed manager at the Stadium of Light in August 2006 just two months after his retirement.

He swiftly revived the team, guiding them from the bottom all the way to the Championship title and then keeping them in the Premier League.

But he has spent £80 million in the transfer market without establishing Sunderland as a top-flight force.

Keane admitted last weekend after a 4-1 home defeat to Bolton Wanderers that he was starting to doubt his suitability for the post.

He said in the post-match press conference: "I ask myself every single day if I am the right man for Sunderland. I asked myself this morning and I said that I was. Tomorrow morning if the answer's no we will have to look at it.

"I have to be honest in my assessment. It's not about what's best for Roy Keane. It's Sunderland Football Club. I might wake up on Monday morning and think I'm the right man. On Tuesday it might be different."

Keane decided the time had come to stand down, and the decision was reached by friendly agreement.

Sunderland chairman Niall Quinn told the club's official website: "First of all on behalf of everyone here I would like to pay thanks to Roy Keane for all his hard work in progressing this club, lifting its status and growing its worldwide profile.

"Roy deserves huge respect for his contribution and the manner in which he guided the club from the depths of the Championship back to the Premier League. His winning mentality and single-mindedness were just what this club needed when Drumaville took over shortly before his arrival.

"Roy's decision to stand aside and allow someone else to take charge of the next chapter sums up his desire to always do what is best for the club. Even in his departure he has been more concerned for the welfare of the players and his staff than himself.

"The board has reluctantly accepted his decision and wish him and his family well for the future."

Quinn added: "Roy, as he says himself, is his harshest critic.

"He just felt he had completed his journey here and he just felt he didn’t want to get it unstuck any further and find ourselves in deeper, darker territory.

"That’s the measure of the guy. It’s funny, in situations like this, I am sure nine times out of 10, the chairman is saying how the manager was trying to keep his job. It was the other way round.

"It’s a disappointing day in many respects, but of course, we fully respect his decision."

Keane added: "I would like to thank my staff, players, Niall Quinn and in particular the fans for their support during my time at Sunderland, and I would like to wish the club every success in the future."

First-team coach Ricky Sbragia will take temporary charge of the team and will be assisted by reserve-team coach Neil Bailey and senior player Dwight Yorke.

Former Sunderland defender Sam Allardyce, who who has been out of work since he was sacked by Newcastle in January, is the early favourite to succeed Keane.

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