Ricky Sbragia stood down as Sunderland manager on Sunday after his side narrowly escaped relegation on the final day of the Premier League season. He was immediately praised by chairman Niall Quinn for keeping the club in the top tier of English football. Quinn told BBC Radio Five Live: "We are elated here today. Ricky stood up when I needed him. The players were in a bad way and were in the bottom three when he took over. "He has been absolutely superb, was given one task to keep Sunderland in the Premier League and he has achieved it. "He should be toasted tonight and has given this club a lifeline. He has agreed to work behind the scenes with me and kick this club on. He has got a job for life at this club." Sbragia, a former Manchester United reserve team coach, took over after Roy Keane resigned in December and confirmed his decision to stand down to media following a 3-2 defeat at home to Chelsea which ultimately did not prove too costly. "I felt the time has come for them to have a bigger name," Sbragia told Radio Five Live. "I could have been selfish and stayed in the job but I have a lot of belief in Sunderland. I've been here for the last 13 or 14 years and felt it was the right thing to do. I had a brief to keep the club up and I have done that. "The club can move on and be a threat, but I think they need a bigger name." Sunderland, who entered the final day of the season in danger of the drop, ended fifth from bottom on 36 points, two above north-east rivals Newcastle United who went down after a 1-0 defeat at Aston Villa. Their other north-east rivals Middlesbrough were also relegated after losing 2-1 at West Ham.
24 May 2009
Get FourFourTwo interviews, features and fun in your inbox every week. For free!
Thank you for registering for our Newsletter
We will send regular updates on the ongoing FourFourTwo updates to the email address you have supplied.