Roy Keane has resigned from his job as trainer of struggling Premiership side Sunderland. The former Manchester United captain took charge of the club in August 2006, leading it to promotion to the Premier League in his first season.
AFP - Roy Keane stood down as manager of Sunderland on Thursday after deciding he was no longer the man to take the relegation-threatened club forward.
Sunderland chairman Niall Quiin, who brought his former Ireland team-mate to the Stadium of Light in August 2006, said the parting of the ways had been amicable, despite the club currently languishing in the bottom three of the Premier League.
First-team coach Ricky Sbragia will take over team affairs on an interim basis and will be assisted by reserve-team coach Neil Bailey and senior player Dwight Yorke in preparing the squad for Saturday's daunting trip to champions Manchester United.
After 24 hours of intense speculation that the former United, Celtic and Ireland midfielder star was on the brink of quitting, the shock departure was confirmed in the wake of a meeting between the 37-year-old and the club's board.
In his first season in charge, Keane steered Sunderland from the Championship's relegation zone to promotion to the Premier League as champions and Sunderland retained their top-flight status relatively comfortably last season.
Quinn said Sunderland fans would recognise that Keane had made a huge difference to the club's fortunes.
"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 (Irish consortium) 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."
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."
The Irishman had offered an insight into the way he was thinking in the wake of a 4-1 home defeat by Bolton last Saturday, when he admitted that he asked himself "every single day if I am the right man for Sunderland".
He went on: "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's future will now be the subject of intense speculation. Although Sunderland have struggled of late, his success in taking Sunderland into the top flight earned plaudits for his managerial skills.
It would seem unlikely that he will be without offers of employment for long, but it remains to be seen whether he wants to pursue a career in management.
Date created : 2008-12-04