With Sam Allardyce in the opposite technical area at Selhurst Park on Saturday, a lot of fans are speculating where we would be right now had he stayed.
When Sam took over from Dick Advocaat last season, Sunderland were in big trouble and he had one objective – to avoid relegation.
Seven months later it was job done and in style – winning the last two home games while scoring six goals.
So no wonder optimism was high during the summer months.
But all that changed when England came calling, disrupting Sunderland’s pre-season plans and we have never recovered.
The frustrating thing was Allardyce seemed to fit Sunderland like a glove and we were the right fit for him as I don’t think he has been appreciated at his other clubs like he was on Wearside.
His ambition for the England job was well documented but was it all worth it in Slovakia that left Sunderland paying the price?
When David Moyes came in with pre-season well underway he would have been my choice.
I didn’t see anybody available who I thought was better but he was dropped in the deep end and couldn’t possibly know his squad as well as Allardyce did.
And whereas Big Sam was lucky with few injuries, Moyes, since day one, has lost players for every reason you can think of.
The Yann M’Vila situation might have been different too, as £8million for a player running down his contract was seen as too much.
I think Allardyce would have seen it as a bargain and signed him permanently.
Younes Kaboul is another player I think he would have tried harder to keep as selling him for £3million was way below what I think he is worth.
Nobody knows where Sunderland would be right now if Big Sam had stayed but the team would be different, that’s for sure.
But if Moyes can keep Sunderland up, his achievement will be every bit as huge as Allardyce’s.