And so we say farewell to Sam Allardyce. After just one single match and only 67 short days in a job he had been working towards for his entire managerial career, Big Sam mutually agreed to step down as England boss on Tuesday night (27 September), declaring that "entrapment has won on this occasion" after being caught up in a damaging newspaper sting.

Allardyce conceded that it was a "silly thing to do" and claimed that he had ultimately suffered the consequences of an error in judgement. When asked if that embarrassingly shortlived reign as Three Lions manager would be his final job in football, the 61-year-old replied: "Who knows, we wait and see."

As well as being an unmitigated PR disaster, Allardyce's extremely premature departure creates yet another leadership vacuum that a wounded Football Association (FA) and their three-man brain trust of Martin Glenn, Dan Ashworth and David Gill must now seek to address for the second time in just two months.

U21 chief Gareth Southgate will step into the breach for the next three 2018 World Cup qualifiers against Malta, Slovenia and Scotland – in addition to a friendly clash with Spain, but, after that, who on earth will be brave enough to take on a role with a nation that Alan Shearer has bluntly described as the "laughing stock of world football"?

IBTimes UK takes a look at the top contenders for an increasingly poisoned chalice, which are understandably not radically different from the last time we went through this rigmarole....

Gareth Southgate

It would be foolhardy to draw up a list of names without including interim manager Southgate. Despite an uninspiring initial stint in club management with Middlesbrough, which coincided with the club's relegation to the Championship in 2009, the former centre-back is well regarded at the FA for his work with the U21s. He earned 57 international caps as a player and is best remembered for that painful penalty miss during the semi-finals of Euro 96, along with the subsequent pizza advert.

Gareth Southgate
Gareth Southgate will take the reins on an interim basis Alex Livesey/Getty Images

It is important to note, however, that it was reported during the search for Hodgson's replacement that Southgate had "no interest" in the senior job. It will be interesting to see whether or not a decent run in these next four games would be enough to instigate a change of heart.

Alan Pardew

The bookmakers' early favourite, Pardew has amassed a wealth of managerial experience with Reading, West Ham United, Charlton Athletic, Southampton and Newcastle United. He is currently in charge of Crystal Palace, whom he guided to the 2016 FA Cup final despite a drastic regression in league form that almost led to them being caught in a relegation dogfight.

There were also rumblings that he could be sacked after Palace lost their opening two games of the new season, although they have since rebounded with three straight wins to lift them up to seventh in the table. Chiefly due to his divisive personality and abrasive style, Pardew would certainly not be a universally popular choice.

Steve Bruce

With Allardyce out on his ear, the next logical appointment from an FA perspective would surely be Bruce. He was previously interviewed for the job in July and is now without a club after ending his four-year stint at Hull City due to frustration over a lack of signings following their promotion back to the Premier League.

Steve Bruce
Steve Bruce was interviewed by the FA before Allardyce's appointment Clint Hughes/Getty Images

Arsene Wenger

Wenger is out of contract at Arsenal next summer and it remains to be seen if that deal is extended once again after two decades. Reports from The Mail have already suggested that the FA plan to approach the Frenchman, who has refused to be drawn on rumours that he was their first choice before Allardyce, for the second time with an intention of appointing him at the end of the season.

Jurgen Klinsmann

Another candidate previously thought to be one of the front-runners in the race to succeed Hodgson, the Tottenham Hotspur cult hero later claimed that he had not been approached by the FA. After guiding Germany to third-place at their home World Cup in 2006, Klinsmann lasted less than one full season at the helm of Bayern Munich and has spent the last five years as head coach of the United States national team.

He is currently contracted until 2018, although risked being given the elbow following a desperately disappointing 2015 Gold Cup campaign, a first defeat to rivals Mexico for four years – one that cost them a place at the 2017 Confederations Cup – and a shock World Cup qualifying loss at the hands of Guatemala. However, an improved fourth-place finish on home soil at June's Copa America Centenario appears to have stabilised his position somewhat.

Jurgen Klinsmann
Jurgen Klinsmann was appointed as USA head coach and technical director in 2011 Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Eddie Howe

The 38-year-old has worked absolute wonders during two separate stints in charge of Bournemouth sandwiched between a disappointing spell at Burnley, guiding the once financially-stricken Cherries from the depths of League Two to the top-flight while prioritising an attractive style of football. He has been mentioned as a possible replacement for Wenger at Arsenal and it is admittedly difficult to see, beyond simple national pride, how England in their current state would appeal to him at this time. It seems like far too much of a risk to his reputation as the country's best young manager.

Other potential candidates: Glenn Hoddle, Louis van Gaal, Gary Neville, Roberto Mancini, Laurent Blanc, Guus Hiddink, Claudio Ranieri, Sean Dyche