Dick Advocaat has resigned as manager of Sunderland, with the club bottom of the Premier League after failing to win any of their first eight top-flight matches of the season. The Dutch coach is the first casualty in the top division this season.
The 68-year-old guided the Blacks Cats to safety last season after taking over in March 2015, losing just three of club's last nine games of the campaign. Having appeared likely to leave at the end of the season, Advocaat made a dramatic U-turn and opted to stay on for the new term.
However, one win in the club's first 10 matches in all competitions which sees them bottom of the Premier League with three points and out of the Capital One Cup has seen Advocaat opt to cut short his tenure. His last game in charge was the 2-2 draw with West Ham United at the Stadium of Light.
"I want to thank everyone who has stood behind me," he told the club's official website. "This is a very special football club, with so many great people, but I feel it is the right time to do this – not for me, but for the club.
"I have made the decision to go after only eight games, as I felt it was important to give everyone time turn things around – like we did last year. I am thankful to the chairman for understanding my feelings and I remain on good terms with everyone at the club.
"I wish Ellis, Lee (Congerton), all of the staff, players and of course the supporters, who made me feel so welcome here, the very best of luck for the rest of the season. I have some wonderful memories to take with me and I hope I will return to see everybody again in the future."
Ex-Hammers boss Sam Allardyce and Burnley's Sean Dyche are the leading contenders to take over. With the club's next game not until 17 October against West Bromwich Albion, chairman Ellis Shot has provided no indication as to when the club plan to make an appointment and has paid tribute to Advocaat upon his departure.
"I am truly saddened by Dick's decision, but I respect him for his honesty and for doing what he feels is right for the club," he said. "He is a man of integrity and a true football person.
"He was hugely respectful of the club in taking this decision and he acted 100% in our best interests. It is also testament to his character that he has forgone any kind of a financial settlement, something which is very unusual in football.
"I want to place on record my sincere thanks to Dick. He will be remembered with great affection by everyone at Sunderland and there will always be a warm welcome for him here at the Stadium of Light. While this isn't a situation any of us envisaged being in, what is important now is that we regroup quickly and focus on the rest of the season."