Dick Advocaat has left a club in genuine crisis, citing a lack of will on his part to manage a team through a relegation battle. That's fair enough, really.
It takes a resilient person to want to manage a club who are unlikely to compete for honours in a league you cannot afford to get relegated from.
And according to media sources, one Sam Allardyce is favourite - per Sky Sports - to take on what can be best described as a poisoned chalice.
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But is there anyone else out there who can stop the rot at the Stadium of Light? It's certainly very difficult to think of anyone who has managed a team successfully under similar circumstances.
At 60, Sam has still got a few seasons of football left in him and he has a good track record in making his teams difficult to break down and defeat and that's exactly what Sunderland need right now.
Allardyce would be good - but planning is needed
In addition to bringing in a proven manager, the owners will need to look very carefully at the structure of the club and invest what money they can in youth development - something all Premier League clubs need to do more of.
Where would Sunderland be today if they were able to replicate Southampton's success in developing home-grown players?
There is no doubting the fans will not be greatly excited with the prospect of Allardyce managing the club, but the long-term future of the is another matter entirely and that work must start today in earnest.