It was on this day four whole years ago that Sunderland’s hierarchy decided that Simon Grayson was the best man to lead the club back to the Premier League, following our disappointing relegation under David Moyes.
Grayson - who had plenty of experience of managing in the EFL - was the man in charge of Preston North End, whom he had taken from the third tier to becoming a stable side in the Championship.
A compensation fee of around £750,000 was paid to lure him away from the north west in the aftermath of Ellis Short taking the club off the market, following months of protracted negotiations with a whole host of potential ownership groups.
Short had gotten months down the line with a group fronted by the Fulwell73 TV production company, but after they pulled out, a group described as a ‘German consortium’ were the only real option left on the table - and Short decided it was in the club’s best interests if we didn’t pursue that particular venture.
So, after many wasted months, a new manager and successor to David Moyes was required, and the then 47-year-old Yorkshireman was pinpointed as the right man to take us forward - though no secret had been made of the fact he wasn’t Martin Bain’s first choice, having tried and failed to get Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes out of Pittodrie.
Grayson signed a three year deal, bringing his assistant Glynn Snodin with him, and spoke glowingly about the opportunity to manage such a massive club:
I am delighted to come to Sunderland, a club with such wonderful history and tradition.
I want a group of players full of desire, team spirit and a never-say-die attitude - that’s the very least that we should expect from a Sunderland player.
Sadly, Grayson wasn’t able to deliver on that promise - the scale of the rebuild was far too big for anyone to handle, and with virtually no time or budget available to him, bringing players in at such short notice and as always going to be difficult. But, we’ll save the story of his demise for another day.
Elsewhere, the news everyone had been dreading was confirmed when AFC Bournemouth announced the signing of our top scorer, Jermain Defoe, on a free transfer.
Defoe had been the shining light during a difficult period for the club, and even despite the fact we finished rock bottom in the Premier League, his class shone through as he managed to bag fourteen goals in the top flight - proving without a doubt that he was still good enough to play at the top table.
The England striker had a clause in his contract which allowed him to leave Sunderland on a free in the event of relegation, and it was Eddie Howe who took full advantage, handing Defoe an alleged £65,000 a week, three-year deal to re-sign with the side he enjoyed loan experience with earlier in his career.
In hindsight… what a thoroughly shite day, eh?