Kevin Phillips is the early favourite with the bookmakers to become the new Sunderland manager.
David Moyes resigned yesterday morning in a dramatic end to the Black Cats’ campaign, having met with Chairman and owner Ellis Short and Chief Executive Martin Bain for talks.
Moyes left without taking any compensation despite having three years left on his deal.
He said: “I would like to thank Ellis Short and the board for giving me the opportunity to manage Sunderland and the fans for always being so passionately supportive of their club.
“I wish the players and my successor well in their efforts towards promotion back to the Premier League.”
Ellis Short said the departure was ‘difficult’ for everyone concerned and promised a ‘period of reflection’ before making a decision on the next step for the club.
Legendary striker Phillips has been the subject of heavy betting in the early markets, the 43-year-old currently a coach at Championship outfit Derby County.
Nigel Pearson and Aitor Karanka are also prominent names with the bookmakers, with Pearson out of work since working with Phillips at Derby earlier in the season.
Karanka left his position at Middlesbrough in March and has already said that he wishes to stay in England, with his family settled in the North East.
Other names linked with the role include Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes and Ryan Giggs.
News of Moyes’ departure has been well received among the Sunderland fanbase.
Paul Dobson of respected fanzine A Love Supreme said: “If we fans felt a sense of relief yesterday just before 5pm when the misery that was the 2016-17 season ended, we felt something similar just before 5pm today when Moyes walked.
“A meeting between and owner and a manager who’s just presided over a disastrous campaign, the day after that campaign ended, has only one realistic outcome. He’d certainly lost the fans, and it looked like he’d lost the players.
“Who next? Someone young but with a bit of experience like Wagner, Monk, or Jokanovic, but that’s only my opinion.”
Some fans, however, have voiced their frustration that decisive action was not taken sooner.
Frankie Francis of Wise Men Say podcast said: “It’s the timing of this decision that will anger Sunderland fans the most. What happened to the long term plan we had fed to us for so long during the season?
“After disappointing performances week in week out even Moyes’ biggest critics had to eventually suck it up as it appeared Moyes would be in post come what may. If the decision from Moyes to leave was based on the funds that were or were not available to him for next season, surely Moyes would have expected as much after January’s transfer window budget and then re aligned his long term plans.
“Unfortunately Moyes leaves the club in a worse state in which he inherited it, with a owner determined to sell and now an already acknowledged revolving door when it comes to the managerial position, Sunderland face another summer of uncertainty ahead of what could be a critical season in the club’s history.”