Sunderland have established themselves as a Barclays Premier League side after winning the Championship title in 2006/07.
After their relegation in 2006, the club was taken over by Drumaville - a consortium of mainly Irish-based businessmen, headed up by former player Niall Quinn - which appointed Republic of Ireland legend and former Manchester United hero Roy Keane as manager, his first managerial post since hanging up his boots.
The club have not looked back since as Keane guided them from the bottom of the Championship to title winners. Keane led them to a 15th Barclays Premier League place finish in 2007/08 but left the club midway through the following season with the Black Cats struggling at the foot of the table.
Coach Ricky Sbragia moved up from coach to take charge until the end of the campaign and ensured the struggling Black Cats avoided the drop. Majority shareholder Ellis Short assumed 100 per cent control of the club with Quinn staying on as chairman. They appointed Steve Bruce as new manager and he steered the Black Cats to 13th position in 2009/10.CLUB HERITAGE
Glaswegian schoolteacher James Allan founded Sunderland and District Teachers' Association Football Club in 1879, changing the name to Sunderland AFC a year later. They were elected to the newly-formed Football League in 1890/91 and were to remain in the top flight for 68 consecutive years - a record only recently passed by Arsenal.
Sunderland won the title three times in five years, only losing one home match in their first six seasons. The Mackems won another title in 1902, but a better prize in their fans eyes' was a 9-1 thrashing of fierce rivals Newcastle United - still a record away win in the top flight. The team came close to doing the double in 1913 but they lost the FA Cup final 1-0 to Aston Villa.
A post-war slump saw them beaten by Yeovil Town in the FA Cup - the first time a non-league club had beaten a top-flight team - and worse, relegated in 1958. Sunderland have spent most of their time since then bouncing between the top two divisions, with their only real glory being a 1973 FA Cup win over Leeds United - the first time in 40 years a club outside the top flight had won the trophy.
The Black Cats reached their lowest point in 1987 as they were relegated to the Third Division. But successive promotions saw them back in the top flight two years later.PREMIER LEAGUE HISTORY
1992/93 - Avoid relegation to Division Two by one point
1993/94 - Mick Buxton replaces Terry Butcher as manager
1994/95 - Peter Reid becomes manager with seven matches remaining
1995/96 - Win Division One
1996/97 - Relegated from FA Carling Premiership
1997/98 - First season at Stadium of Light. Lose play-off final on penalties
1998/99 - Win Division One with a record 105 points
2002/03 - Break record signing with Tore Andre Flo for £6.75m. Reid replaced by Howard Wilkinson. Mick McCarthy takes over with nine matches left. Relegated with lowest points tally ever (19)
2004/05 - Win Division One
2005/06 - McCarthy leaves in March after just two wins. Kevin Ball appointed as caretaker. Relegated with new record low number of points (15).
2006/07 - Consortium headed by former hero Niall Quinn takes over. Quinn appointed as manager but sacks himself after four straight defeats. Roy Keane becomes manager. Win promotion to the Barclays Premier League
2007/08 - Break British transfer record for a goalkeeper - paying Hearts £9m for Craig Gordon
2008/09 - After a disappointing run, Roy Keane resigns from his post as manager in December. Ricky Sbragia takes temporary charge and keeps the Black Cats up. Steve Bruce takes becomes new pemanent manager in June.
2009/10 - Bruce secures Sunderland's Barclays Premier League status as they finish 13th.
Manager Steve Bruce
Steve Bruce will look to transform Sunderland's Barclays Premier League fortunes after he was appointed manager of the club in June 2009.
He arrived at the Stadium of Light after an 18-month stint at Wigan Athletic, where he performed heroics by first helping the Latics beat the drop in 2008, before leading them to a mid-table finish at the end of the 2008/09 season.
It was Bruce's second spell at the JJB Stadium after a brief eight-match stint at the end of the 2000/01 season.
He started out in management as a player-manager with Sheffield United in the summer of 1998 and made 11 appearances for the Blades before hanging up his boots in November.
In his first season in the Bramall Lane hot-seat, Bruce led United to eighth in Division One - just missing out on the play-off places.
He left for Division One rivals Huddersfield Town shortly after the campaign ended and took them to an eighth-place finish, this time two points off the play-offs.
But a disappointing start to 2000/01 led to his dismissal in October and Bruce was out of work until April 2001 when Division Two club Wigan hired him for the first time.
Bruce proved his Midas touch by getting them into the play-offs, however luck deserted him as the Latics crashed out at the semi-final stage.
Crystal Palace chairman Simon Jordan lured the out-of-contract manager to Selhurst Park with Bruce having taken charge of eight Wigan matches.
Palace had an excellent start to the season but Bruce was on the move again in November - six months into his tenure - with Palace top of the Division One table.
Birmingham City, the club where he spent two seasons as a player between 1996 and 1998, was his next stop after a compensation package was agreed between the two clubs.
Bruce enjoyed instant success at his former club by leading Blues from mid-table in the Championship to a 2002 play-off final victory over Norwich City and promotion to the Barclaycard Premier League.
With Blues back in the big time after a 16-year absence, Bruce's men comfortably survived with a 13th-place finish.
In 2003/04, he improved on that by steering the club to 10th position and 12th the following season.
The 2005/06 campaign proved more difficult for the Northumberland-born manager and Birmingham were relegated after four seasons in the top flight.
But he and Blues bounced back in style by winning promotion at the first attempt with a second-place finish, falling short of winning the Championship title on the last day.
Fifteen matches into the 2007/08 season, Bruce ended his spell with Birmingham after lowly Wigan enquired about bringing him back to the club.
Bruce took over the managerial reigns over at the JJB Stadium at the end of November 2007 with the Latics deep in the relegation zone.
He soon proved his managerial credentials once more, helping his new club avoid relegation from the Barclays Premier League. In 2008/09, his first and only full season in charge, he led the side to an 11th place finish.
He was appointed Sunderland manager in June 2009, taking over from caretaker coach Ricky Sbragia. Bruce guided the Black Cats to 13th in 2009/10.