Sunderland chairman Niall Quinn has begun the search for a new manager after the Roy Keane era drew to a close.
Keane's resignation after days of speculation left his former Republic of Ireland team-mate looking for a replacement 27 months after believing he had landed a man who could help the club achieve its dreams.
Former Newcastle boss Sam Allardyce, who has both played for and been employed as a coach by the Black Cats in the past, was immediately installed as the bookmakers' favourite, with Phil Brown and Alan Curbishley hot on his heels.
Quinn insisted he had not even considered the matter as he outlined Keane's reasons for going, but as coach Ricky Sbragia, with the help of Neil Bailey and midfielder Dwight Yorke, prepared the players for Saturday's Barclays Premier League trip to Manchester United, his new mission got under way.
He said: "It's been a tough few days for Roy Keane and the football club, and now that is something to go away and have a think about with a very open mind, I have to say.
"I have no thoughts that way. Obviously, to find somebody to fill Roy's shoes - there are various components. Of course, to be a good manager, but in terms of the box office, that's going to be a tough one.
"The search starts. When all is said and done - Roy's said it and I have said it - this club isn't about Roy Keane, isn't really about Niall Quinn.
"Yes, it's maybe about the fans, but the club is the big, big thing.
"I haven't even thought about it."
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