These are nervy times on Wearside.
This was supposed to be the dawn of a bright new era; a time when Sunderland’s bruised and bloody fanbase could revel in a stress-free existence outside the dregs of the relegation battle as Sam Allardyce again proved his prowess in laying solid foundations.
Before anyone gets carried away, that still looks the most viable future for Sunderland. The FA’s endless reviews and appraisals will surely lead them away from the obvious candidate in Allardyce to a more ‘stylish’ overseas option.
It’s what these suited bods have always done. The corporate image holds more resonance than actually bringing international success.
That’s why Jurgen Klinsmann is the firm favourite at the bookmakers to succeed Roy Hodgson, even though his position as USA boss is coming under increased scrutiny on the other side of the Atlantic.
But there’s still a growing anxiety among Sunderland fans at the bandwagon of support which is gradually gaining momentum for Allardyce’s prospects of taking the England reins.
A host of national newspaper columnists have backed Allardyce’s credentials over recent days, as has ex-FA chairman David Bernstein.
It’s easy to see why. The 61-year-old has made a career out of ensuring his sides are well-organised, while players like and respect him. He has that knack of motivating multi-millionaires, which hardly seemed a powerful weapon in Hodgson’s armoury.
If the Sunderland loyalties are set aside, Allardyce looks just the man for the job, even if the FA will try to overcomplicate proceedings by looking elsewhere.
It would be naive to think that Allardyce wouldn’t be tempted if the FA came calling too.
Last week’s report from Allardyce’s ghost-writer, the Sun’s Shaun Custis, that he would be interested in the job, has to be taken as a sure-fire indication.
Sunderland could well be left in that familiar situation of yet another managerial search. The Black Cats would be forced into one more approach for long-time target David Moyes.
With the three-man committee who will decide Hodgson’s successor only meeting for the first time on Friday, we are a long way from that scenario, yet fans are understandably fretting.
On social media over recent days, there’s been concerns over whether the Allardyce speculation will be detrimental to Sunderland’s transfer business and whether the Black Cats boss should even make a public statement to clarify the situation.
Neither will happen.
Unlike a managerial change at club level, this isn’t going to be resolved quickly.
England don’t play again until a September 4 World Cup qualifier against Slovakia and the FA appear determined to make the most of that generous two-month window.
The committee charged with finding Hodgson’s successor won’t report back to the FA’s big-wigs until July 22, and even then, there’s no certainty that they will have one preferred candidate lined up.
Sunderland supporters have to accept this situation is going to drag on and on, amidst the taking of sound-bites from amongst others, performance director of British Cycling Sir Dave Brailsford and sacked England rugby coach Stuart Lancaster.
In the meantime, it has to be business as usual for Sunderland.
Allardyce has been around the block too many times to be let the situation affect him. After missing out on the job to Steve McClaren 10 years ago too, he is hardly going to be counting his chickens.
He even admitted at the end of last season that he thought the FA would turn to a “sexier” option than him, if Hodgson was given the bullet.
If England do spring a surprise and come calling, then Sunderland have to accept that significant blow to their hopes of a rosier future.
Yet in this period of uncertainty, all Allardyce and Sunderland can focus on is persisting with that strategy of leading the club to more tranquil waters.