David Moyes has resigned from his position as manager of relegated Sunderland, 24 hours after the sorry Black Cats ended a truly wretched 2016-17 Premier League campaign with a heavy 5-1 defeat to champions Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
The Scot was handed a four-year contract after being appointed as successor to Sam Allardyce last summer and had initially signalled his intention to remain at the Stadium of Light as Sunderland, set to compete outside of the top tier of English football for the first time in a decade, seek to secure an immediate return from the Championship.
However, such a decision seemed to be predicated on him being given the funds to make sweeping changes to a squad that were demoted with three games to spare following a typically listless 1-0 home defeat by Bournemouth on 29 April.
Moyes, who rather the set the tone for a woeful campaign after admitting as early as August that his side were likely to find themselves in a relegation battle after opening with back-to-back losses, is said to have informed owner Ellis Short and chief executive Martin Bain of his decision to leave the club during a meeting held in London on Monday morning (22 May).
"I would like to thank Ellis Short and the board for giving me the opportunity to manage Sunderland, and the fans for always being so passionately supportive of their club," the 54-year-old said in an official statement released by Sunderland.
"I wish the players and my successor well in their efforts towards promotion back to the Premier League".
Short surprisingly revealed that Moyes had relinquished his position without accepting any compensation.
"I pursued the services of David Moyes for a considerable period prior to his appointment last summer, which makes the announcement of his departure difficult for everyone concerned," he said.
"Having worked tirelessly throughout the campaign to avoid relegation from the Premier League, David has chosen to leave the club without compensation, which is testament to his character. In the days ahead we will take some time for reflection, and then focus on recruitment and pre-season as we prepare for our Championship campaign. We wish David well in the future."
An already difficult season for Moyes got considerably worse in April, when the former Preston North End, Everton, Manchester United and Real Sociedad boss was charged by the Football Association (FA) after his controversial "slap" comment aimed at female reporter Vicki Sparks after she asked him if Short's presence in the stands during a goalless draw with Burnley put any additional pressure on him.
He quickly apologised to Sparks and claimed to "deeply regret" comments that he said were made in the "heat of the moment". It was later reported that Moyes requested a personal FA hearing, which is yet to take place.
With Moyes' departure now confirmed, former Sunderland stalwart Kevin Phillips - who currently works on the coaching staff at Derby County - is being touted by some bookmakers as the favourite to take over on Wearside. Aitor Karanka, Nigel Pearson and Garry Monk are among the other names also said to be in the frame.