Chris Coleman has faced months of questions about his own future and his response has by and large always been the same.
He was desperate to turn this club around but ultimately, he felt it would be someone else who would make the call for him.
This morning, that proved to be true.
It has been a truly stunning development, one that has left all at the club reeling and understandably anxious about the future. Though Stewart Donald spoke of his tentative interest last week, there were no indications what was coming and certainly not that it would be coming so soon.
Coleman himself seems to have been kept largely in the dark over developments, saying on Thursday that he did not believe there was any reason to think the situation had changed much.
He went on to say he hoped he would get the chance to sit down with someone and sell them a vision for Sunderland.
"One meeting is all I’d need, a couple of hours," he said.
"Just to show, look, this is what the vision is, this is what we’ll do, how we’ll do it. We’re not asking for £10million, anything like that, but we weren’t asking for anything like that in January to prevent this and it wasn’t forthcoming. It was a flat no.
"Am I optimistic that it will be any different? Not too optimistic. If a new person comes in and says Chris, you’re not for us, no problems, I have to accept that and I will.
"But they could be pleasantly surprised, that they could bounce back by holding on to the right assets and with just some steady investment. It could turn quickly because the supporters are crazy for the club, once they’re proud of the team it will move forward so quickly. Keep the players we need, add a bit of new life, and things could be different."
It appears that he did not get that opportunity and in truth that is absolutely baffling.
He will be sanguine about developments eventually and always said that a new owner might want their own man in place.
That is the game, but Stewart Donald and his backers will need to get it right. They will do well to find anyone with the passion, drive and vision for Sunderland that Coleman possesses. Jaap Stam and Mick McCarthy are two of the early names mentioned in connection with the vacancy.
There are question marks, yes, over what has happened in recent months but it seems a bitter disappointment that Coleman will not get the chance to build his own team and it is a poor departure for someone who, yes, failed to keep the club in the Championship but also threw everything at a club that was going nowhere before his arrival.
That, though, is where we are now.
Questions aplenty but answers few. The statement from Ellis Short and Donald offered not even a cursory thank you for Coleman's efforts.
Coleman has been relentless in stating his belief that a new ownership would be the game changer for Sunderland and Martin Bain said the same earlier this week.
Supporters are desperate for a vision and identity at the club and will hope that Donald and his backers are the people to provide it.
Whoever is backing the Eastleigh man is crucial. Ellis Short's decision to hand over the club debt free is clearly an absolutely key development but it does not solve Sunderland's financial woes overnight. Far from it.
In the last season of the Premier League Short was putting in over £1million a month and since then that figure is only likely to have been increased. That is an onerous burden for the new owners to take on and with a high wage bill going into League One, not one that will be easily solved. Last summer the sale of Jordan Pickford provided significant financial relief but there is no such crown jewel this time around.
This will in time come to be seen as one of the most significant days in the club's recent history. For better or for worse, it is too early to say.
Clearly, Short needed to leave and that offers some hope for better days ahead. Debt free and with parachute payments, there is a chance to rebuild and have a memorable season in League One.
That Coleman is not in charge to see those days is a crying shame and he can leave with his held high. At the club's lowest ebb for generations, perhaps in its entire history, he fronted up and offered hope when there was none.
He could have made a fine Sunderland manager.
The baton will now pass to somebody else and it goes without saying that it is an utterly vital appointment.
Already, the pressure is on.