Chris Coleman, set to be unveiled later today, wasn't at the Stadium of Light to witness the 2-2 draw with Millwall.
Instead Kit Symons, Coleman's assistant, was sitting next to Sunderland chief executive Martin Bain no doubt feeding everything back to the incoming Black Cats boss.
Here's what Coleman will have learned from the draw:
Sunderland hold an unwanted record - but at least it wasn't on Coleman's watch.
It would have been the worst possible start had Coleman been announced and then the Black Cats failed to beat Millwall at home.
Instead Sunderland did manage to break the record for the longest winless run on home soil in English football - 20 games - moving clear of Derby County, Nottingham Forest and Dagenham & Redbridge.
It is a dismal record but at least Coleman will be able to start afresh knowing he doesn't have that on his CV.
Sunderland face a couple of difficult away games at Aston Villa and Burton Albion before returning home aiming to finally put a stop to the rot.
Lee Cattermole suspended for Villa trip.
Cattermole picked up his fifth booking of the season against Millwall and will subsequently miss Tuesday night's trip to Villa Park.
Having been dropped by Simon Grayson, Cattermole has fought his way back into the side under caretaker boss Robbie Stockdale but he will miss the first game of Coleman's reign.
With injuries stacking up the last thing Coleman needs is to be without his most experienced players through suspension but it was always a possibility.
Injury problems return.
Sunderland looked to have cleared the treatment room at the Academy of Light but the injury problems have ramped up again in recent weeks.
Billy Jones (knee) is out for a further three weeks, Lamine Kone out until January with a knee injury while Duncan Watmore, Marc Wilson and Jonny Williams all need to be assessed after
going off in the draw with Millwall.
Watmore's withdrawl caused the most concern having just returned from a lengthy lay-off after a serious knee injury.
It was the same leg causing him problems on Saturday and he will now be assessed. Coleman and Sunderland fans wait with baited breath.
Make the most of the crosses!
Time and time again Aiden McGeady produced a series of excellent crosses into the box, especially late on in the game, but Sunderland couldn't take advantage.
Sunderland need to get more bodies in the box to make the most of McGeady's delivery, which was excellent against Millwall.
Callum McManaman looked a real threat down the right when he came on too, though his final ball wasn't up to the same standard.
New manager, same defensive problems
The Millwall game perfectly summed up Sunderland's campaign so far, a real threat going forward yet vulnerable at the back, especially to counter-attacks.
This time it was the turn of Robbin Ruiter to play the villain.
His inexplicable errors for George Saville's free-kicks cost Sunderland two vital points. It was comical. Almost unbelievable. Millwall's Jordan Archer wasn't much better.
The goalkeeping situation has evolved into a full-blown crisis for Sunderland now.
Sunderland's mental fragility exposed.
Sunderland started brightly, as they so often do, Millwall unable to get the ball off them in the opening stages and the Black Cats deservedly took the lead through Lewis Grabban -
Ruiter's howlers, two in the space of four minutes, saw Sunderland's lead quickly evaporate and the confidence visibly drained from the players.
It took an age - and the half-time break - for them to regain their composure. Millwall were no great shakes and Sunderland should have won. More points dropped.
A lack of confidence and a raft of goalkeeping errors costing them dear.