Martin Bain faces his first day in the hotseat tomorrow, when he begins his new role as Sunderland’s chief executive.
It promises to be a challenge for the ex-Rangers and Maccabi Tel Aviv chief executive, with Sunderland needing to end the annual pattern of relegation fights and address huge financial losses off-the-field.
But while Sunderland desperately need to head into more stable waters in the long-term, what are the immediate challenges facing Bain?
1. Shift the deadwood
A succession of Sunderland managers, head coaches and directors of football have faced the challenge of finding new clubs for a host of unused players who provide a steady drain on the wage bill.
It’s the ultimate cost of so many changes in the dug-out and the boardroom.
There are more than half-a-dozen on Sunderland’s books who are currently surplus to requirements and collectively add up to around £150,000 a week in wages. That’s more than twice the rate of Sunderland’s top earners.
They need to be moved on swiftly and Bain’s phone needs to be ringing... a lot.
2. Help to unearth some more gems in the transfer market
Sunderland’s coffers may have been boosted by £30million or so with the new television deal, yet the Black Cats still won’t be able to compete financially with the Premier League’s heavyweights.
There will have to be more bargains akin to the January window, when Sunderland were able to land Jan Kirchhoff and Lamine Kone for a total outlay of just £5.75m.
Sam Allardyce and head of recruitment Martin Glover will spearhead Sunderland’s search for fresh blood over the next two months, yet Bain will be involved in the negotiations to ensure the Black Cats get the best deal possible.
3. Tie key figures down to new contracts
Sunderland have been pro-active over contracts this summer, with Patrick van Aanholt and Jermain Defoe both agreeing fresh terms.
After a succession of big-money captures have left for nothing over recent seasons, there’s been some refreshing pro-activity from the Black Cats.
However, both Jan Kirchhoff and Vito Mannone – key members of the side which secured Premier League survival – are on deals that are due to expire next summer.
Allardyce is in the same situation.
The Sunderland boss will want assurances over the club’s future direction, but after his impact last season, he can fulfil the objective of long-term stability.
4. Bring back Yann M’Vila and DeAndre Yedlin
At a conservative estimate, Sunderland require half-a-dozen signings this summer, but two of those can feasibly be a pair of returning faces from last season.
Allardyce has made no secret of his desire to re-sign M’Vila, but he is also thought to be keen on bringing back Yedlin too after the right-back’s dramatic improvement during the season’s finale.
However, Sunderland face negotiating with Rubin Kazan and Spurs respectively. Neither are renowned for being quick to strike a deal.
5. Ensure the club’s promising youngsters head out on loan
In the midst of the biannual discussions about the English game after a major tournament failure, a particularly damaging measure is on the horizon for youth development.
The emergency loan window – which allows Football League clubs to take Premier League youngsters on short-term stints – is no more, with loans limited to half and full season deals.
Sunderland will suddenly have to be pro-active in giving their homegrown talent a taste of competitive football, rather than being limited to the sterile Under-21s League.