After Saturday's dismal 4-0 reverse at home to Aston Villa, it appeared as if Gus Poyet's time as Head Coach at Sunderland was nearing it's conclusion and so it has proved, with Ellis Short removing him from his post this afternoon.
Despite the heroics of last season, when Poyet helped steer the club to safety in dramatic fashion and took the club to Wembley for the first time in sixteen years, this season has been one of few wins, highlights or goals. The Uruguayan had looked increasingly unsure of how to change the team's fortunes around, summed up by his selection of Jermain Defoe's match day partner seemingly decided by the spin of a roulette wheel.
Speaking on safc.com, Short explained the reason for Poyet's departure and thanked him for his service to the club;
I would like to thank Gus for his endeavours during his time at the club, in particular last season's ‘great escape' and cup final appearance, which will live long in the memory of every Sunderland fan.
Sadly, we have not made the progress that any of us had hoped for this season and we find ourselves battling, once again, at the wrong end of the table. We have therefore made the difficult decision that a change is needed.
Burnley's win over Manchester City leaves Sunderland only one point above the relegation zone and the next man in charge will be expected to keep Sunderland in the Premier League, although it remains to be seen whether the new Head Coach will be a short term fix until the end of the season or if the club will try and find a permanent successor to Poyet immediately.
Dick Advocaat appears to the the frontrunner for the job, with reports suggesting the former Rangers manager is wanted on a short basis and is known to Lee Congerton through our Sporting Director's ties to Frank Arnesen. Sam Allardyce has also been heavily rumoured as a contender but it's likely that he will be unavailable until the summer.