For all intents and purposes, the overall situation at Sunderland can't be considered to be anything short of a monetary mess. We're predictably low on funds after years of debt perpetuated by terrible winter and summer windows, and all we have to show for our transfer efforts are a handful of wantaways that constitute a threadbare squad.
In the eyes of many a manager, this accumulation of incompetence that has persisted over the last few years has left Sunderland as a profoundly unappealing career path at worst, and a comparably inferior choice of club at best.
Sorry for starting on such a sour note, but I had to put the facts on the table.
Now, the reality of our club might be an unpleasant one, but we haven't completely sprayed ourselves with gaffer-repellent. The potentiality is still here to attract managers of sufficient caliber, and this is due almost entirely to our existence in the Championship.
For a manager like Derek McInnes, a move to Wearside offers the Scotsman a chance to swim into a bigger pond. I don't buy into the commonly accepted conjecture that the average SPL side would struggle to compete in League 2 but - from McInnes' point of view - it's undeniable that a gig in the Scottish top tier pales in comparison to one in the Championship.
The reason being doesn't become apparent by drawing comparisons between sides in the SPL and Championship. Rather, the Premier League's subordinate division is superior due to it allowing McInnes to make better use of his ambitions.
He's done well to take Aberdeen from the business end of the Scottish top flight to runners-up, but only one club in that division can call the sky the limit - the rest won't make it past the ceiling.
Not since the 1984/85 season, when some bloke called Sir Alex Ferguson was in charge of Aberdeen, has a side outside of Glasgow surmounted that division - and given Celtic's current trajectory, this will be the case for the foreseeable future. For McInnes to try and better himself in his current job is a fool's errand.
The Championship, however, offers the same pursuit of ambition whilst being grounded in realism. If McInnes gets it right here, he and Sunderland can climb the tables to our collective hearts' content.
Now, this all sounds good, but is it enough to constitute a selling point? What about the shifting sums of Ellis Short's illusory war chest? Would a new manager want to step into our hotseat when those who came before him were promised money they never got to spend?
Money is there to be made with the rare opportunity we have to make a profit on the players we'll inevitably sell. Just the other day, West Brom came in with a bid of nine million pounds for Lamine Kone, and whilst Everton tested the water in the most feeble way possible with an eight million bid for Jordan Pickford, you can count on us not relinquishing the young stopper for anything less than triple that amount.
As long as McInnes is given the liberty of converting our profits into an array of fresh faces, there's no fear of inheriting a war chest of unknown quantity.
The club doesn't have a 'rotten core' or 'something wrong with it' either - so don't think these superstitions take away from what we can offer a lesser-league manager. Sunderland has a recent history of gaffers quick to point the finger in any direction but their own. A fundamental problem intrinsic to the club itself is a well-woven hoax.
Moyes epitomized this fallacy. Back in August last year when we got humped off Boro, he had this to say:
They've been [fighting relegation] every other year for the last four years, so why would it suddenly change?
At a passing glance, statements such as these (and it was just one of many under Moyes) seem uncontroversial. It was easy for Moyes to blame his shortcomings on the fact that the club has seemingly always been in a bad way - as a result, we come to see the club as 'bad' instead of the manager.
In layman's terms, I suppose it's apt to say that we've had a habit of employing poor workmen to blame their tools.
A manager who sees this club as a step-up and isn't intimidated or unsettled by the recent failures (which won't be significantly applicable to him) is exactly what we need - and we're by no means in a bad position to attract this kind of gaffer.