Bramble happy with return to North-East
SUNDERLAND defender Titus Bramble confesses he has been overwhelmed by the reception given to him by Black Cats' supporters since his summer switch from Wigan Athletics. The 29-year-old's arrival on Wearside was met with hoots of derision in some quarters given his inconsistent fiveyear spell at Sunderland's fierce North-East rivals Newcastle. But Steve Bruce's acquisition has acquitted himself admirably since swapping life at the DW Stadium for the Stadium of Light. And any doubters wondering whether Bramble could play at the highest level without making any costly errors would have had their questions answered last Sunday when the former defender put in a man of the match display in the Black Cats' 1-0 victory over title-chasing Manchester City. The fans have been great ever since I got here and I want to repay them for that, said Bramble. I always said when I came here that it was up to me to prove myself as a Sunderland player out on the pitch and things have gone pretty well for me so far. I still think I need a few games to be at my best, but I've settled in well and it has been everything I'd hoped for when I decided I wanted to come here. It's an excellent club and I'm really enjoying it. You can talk as much as you want, but fans are going to warm to you if they see you are playing well on a matchday. I was happy to be named man of the match against Manchester City, but the result was the most important thing. Obviously you want to play well for a new club and if I can carry on like this I'll be happy. Bramble's move to Sunderland raised a few eyebrows and he could have easily seen out his days playing in the relative footballing backwaters of Wigan. But his decision to accept Bruce's invitation reveals not only does he have the character to prove those doubters wrong but shows a new level of maturity rarely seen in his controversial career so far. I think I needed this move, admitted the former Ipswich defender. It was a challenge because some people would have had a certain view of me after my time at Newcastle. But I wanted that and I'm excited about what we can achieve this season. We have some really good players here and if we can get some better luck with injuries, I don't see why we can't push for a European place. Of course, getting a win over a team like Manchester City obviously helps give everyone a lift. It was the sort of performance and result which gives everyone a lift. We have a platform to build on now and hopefully we can go to Wigan after the international break and get something from that game as well. I know the away form was a problem last season for Sunderland and I've already been part of one poor performance on the road and I don't want another. We were bad against West Brom and it just wasn't good enough really. We have shown how well we can play against Manchester City, now we have to maintain those standards. Sunderland have confirmed that advance- purchase tickets for the Carling Cup third round tie against West Ham United will cost £10 for adults and £5 for under 16s and over 65s. Tickets purchased on the day of the game will revert to £15 for adults and £10 for under 16s and over 65s The tie will be played on Tuesday, September 21 (7.45pm), at the Stadium of Light. Tickets are available online at www.safc.com, by telephone on 0871 911 1973 or in-person at the Stadium of Light ticket office.
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