Usually, Sunderland can at least enjoy a couple of weeks of the season before the cloud of summer optimism bursts, but the turmoil has come early this year.
Sam Allardyce may well remain as Black Cats boss if the FA ultimately opts for another candidate, yet the current uncertainty hanging over the club is hardly conducive towards much-needed signings. How do you attract a player when the manager might change a week or two later?
As Sunderland pointed out in their strongly-worded club statement, they need a “swift resolution” to the matter, to restore some sense of stability on the eve of the new campaign.
But even though Allardyce is still Sunderland manager - and the club clearly want that to remain the case - it would be naive and remiss of the Black Cats to not consider contingency options.
There is only a month to go until the Premier League gets underway and as yet, Sunderland are yet to make any inroads into the transfer market.
Either Allardyce, or his successor, needs to be able to strengthen Sunderland’s ranks with four or five players who improve the starting XI of a side that still finished fourth bottom last season, despite the rousing conclusion to the campaign.
Who could Sunderland turn to though? Well, if the Black Cats face the task of recruiting a seventh manager in the space of five years, there are plenty of options.
The instant name that makes sense, and one that has been on Ellis Short’s radar previously.
Sunderland have enquired about Moyes on at least two occasions - including last summer and again in the Autumn prior to Allardyce’s appointment.
Moyes - who was in the Stadium of Light stands for Sunderland’s draw with Crystal Palace in March - has similar methods to Allardyce, with a focus on organisation, and his success at Everton was built on promoting homegrown talent and hidden gems in the transfer market.
After leaving Real Sociedad last November, he is keen to return to management too after considering the vacancy at Aston Villa at the end of the season.
If Dick Advocaat had not made a U-turn last summer, then there was a more than fair chance that Dyche would have taken the reins.
Dyche might not be a name which inspires supporters, but he’s very well respected within football and has his share of admirers in the Sunderland boardroom too.
However, after Burnley’s return to the Premier League, would Dyche jump ship? Yes, he might have a larger budget and be plying his trade at a bigger-hitting club, yet there would still be the danger of being involved in the scrap at the wrong end of the table.
On the face of it, an unlikely choice, yet speculation emerged in Pellegrini’s homeland of Chile on Tuesday night that he could be a contender at the Stadium of Light.
Would the ex-Manchester City boss really be willing to swap a top four challenge for a relegation scrap though? Yes, he’s out of work, but it’s a very different task to the one he enjoyed at the Etihad.
There would be few complaints over Sunderland being easy on the eye under Martinez, yet the climax of his Everton reign at the end of last season has damaged the Spaniard’s reputation.
Everton’s hapless defence was joyfully exposed by Sunderland as they sealed Premier League survival, while there were plenty of whispers about Martinez’s relationship with his players prior to his dismissal.
Very much available after such a feeble end to his England reign and in fairness, did admirable jobs at West Brom and Fulham to stabilise them in the middle lands of the Premier League table.
But would Hodgson return to management so swiftly? If he did, he’d inevitably face an uncomfortable amount of scrutiny.
Extremely well-regarded by Sunderland’s players and Allardyce has delegated much of the training ground preparations to the Black Cats’ former Under-21 coach.
However, if the instability does continue at Sunderland with Allardyce’s departure, it’s hardly a job for a coach with no managerial experience.
Like Roy Keane, Giggs would generate huge media interest at Sunderland and would instantly command respect of the dressing room after his hugely-decorated playing career.
The same reservations surround Giggs as Stockdale though. Can Sunderland be really taking a chance on a novice at this time?
FRANK DE BOER
The ex-Ajax boss has made no secret of his desire to test himself in the Premier League and has been linked with Newcastle, Everton and Southampton over recent months.