Dick Advocaat has resigned as coach of Sunderland just eight games into the new Premier League season.
The 68-year-old Dutchman had deliberated long and hard before deciding to extend his stay with the Black Cats after rescuing them from relegation last season. They are yet to win in eight Premier League games and Advocaat took the decision to leave early to give the club plenty of time to turn things around.
He was immediately followed by Assistant coach Zeljko Petrovic after a 2-2 draw with West Ham on Saturday. Advocaat?s replacement with be Sunderland?s sixth boss in four years. His predecessors were Steve Bruce, Martin O?Neill, Paolo di Canio and Gus Poyet.
Like Di Canio and Poyet before him, Advocaat had been hailed as the club?s savior after rescuing them from relegation. All three have now lost their jobs the following season. Advocaat wept with emotion following the club?s 0-0 draw at Arsenal, a result that kept the club in the Premier League. The veteran coach had initially turned down a one-year contract so that he could honor a promise to his wife that he would retire from football management.
He changed his mind and returned to the Stadium Of Light in June but his side?s only victory in any competition came against League Two side Exeter in the Capital One Cup. They are currently one from bottom in the Premier League table, above Newcastle by virtue of a single goal.
The last seven managers at Sunderland have averaged just 44 games apiece which is hardly encouraging for those already being linked with the job. The prime target is believed to Sam Allardyce, most recently with West Ham. He briefly played for Sunderland in the 1980?s but failed when boss at Newcastle, being sacked after eight months in charge in 2007/08. He has publicly stated that he wanted a break from management so it remains to be seen whether he can persuaded to return so soon.
Burnley boss Sean Dyche is also thought to be high on the list despite failing to keep his side in the Premiership. Burnley did not have the big funds available to other Premier League clubs and won plenty of admirers for the way they performed last season. Former Leicester boss Nigel Pearson is another possibility, replaced by Claudio Ranieri after personal issues with the club despite the club finishing last season in tremendous form.