Despite being offered a new contract to continue his role as head coach, Dick Advocaat has decided that he wishes to call time on his illustrious career in club management.
Advocaat had been extremely popular both with club and supporters but, although he was clearly tempted by the role, has respected the wishes of his wife and decided to retire. Speaking to safc.com, the 67-year-old thanked everyone involved with the club;
At certain moments in your life you have to make a decision and I am almost 68 years old now.
A number of clubs contacted me but the decision was always Sunderland or nobody.
I would like to thank the chairman, Lee, the staff and of course the fans. We gave everything in our time there and achieved what we set out to.
Sunderland has been one of the highlights of my career.
Although the Dutchman only took Sunderland from 17th when he took over, to 16th come the end of the season, in reality the club looked doomed to relegation after Gus Poyet's reign ended with the team looking completely incapable of picking up the wins we would have needed to stay up. With Advocaat's arrival completely changing the team's fortune around enough that we were safe with a game to spare thanks to a hard-fought 0-0 draw away to Arsenal.
Chairman Ellis Short was quick to recognise Advocaat's efforts in keeping Sunderland in the Premier League for another season;
Although I am extremely disappointed, I understand and absolutely respect his decision. In his brief time here he made a real impact and lifted the club with his experience and enthusiasm.
We will always be grateful to him for what he achieved.
Sporting Director Lee Congerton also praised Advocaat and his backroom staff;
I know it was a tough decision for Dick to make but he felt that he couldn't commit to the intense rigours of club management on a longer-term basis and we respect his honesty.
In his short time here he was fantastic to work with. He had and will continue to have the utmost respect of everyone here at Sunderland.
I would like to sincerely thank him, along with his assistant Bert van Lingen and coach Zeljko Petrovic for the hard work and dedication they showed in the last two months and they leave with the very best wishes of everyone at the club for their achievements.
It now falls to Congerton to find a successor for Advocaat, with the likes of Sam Allardyce, Paul Clement, Slavisa Jokanovic and Steve McClaren all mentioned as candidates for the job. Although with Congerton in place, the new man will have to be someone who is willing to be a head coach working alongside a sporting director.
With Advocaat's departure confirmed, who do you want to Sunderland to appoint as head coach? Let us know in the comments.