Steve Bruce has won the Premier League sack race. Hurrah!
They may not have protested with as much gusto or ingenuity as their Blackburn Rovers counterparts, but the Sunderland supporters clearly have more attentive owners as they finally claimed a victory last evening with Bruce's dismissal.
It may be the most inauspicious race to win, but Steve Kean could not even prevail in this contest as the beleaguered Bruce beat him to the dreaded axe. There will be few happy punters as a result, with enough money traded on Kean being the first for the chop to bail out some of the obscene debt racked up by the Venky's at Ewood Park.
All one has heard this season is 'Kean's luck is out', but with Bruce having had his P45 stuffed in his Barbour jacket before the almost comically inept Rovers boss is surely proof enough that he has an immense amount of fortune in his favour. That, or the Venky's have been looking at the wrong league table all this time.
Bruce, like Kean, has always been about as palatable to his club's fans as a Lee Cattermole second yellow, and his departure has provided festive cheer at this early stage in the season for most supporters. Yes, Nicklas Bendtner is still at the club, but there is still a chance that the season can be turned around.
The Black Cats have mustered just two league victories from 13 matches so far this season, and chairman Ellis Short has shown patience befitting of his name in showing his portly manager the door.
Has Bruce been unduly devoid of luck? It is certainly the case that each of his big-name forwards (barring Bendtner, who still believes he is just shy of Lionel Messi in terms of stature and is happy in his own little world) have forced moves away from the Stadium of Light to develop their careers elsewhere.
The beginning of the end was surely the sale of Darren Bent for £24 million back in January which indicated in the most emphatic fashion possible that playing for Sunderland under Bruce was not something which was considered productive.
Kenwyne Jones and Asamoah Gyan also departed after drawn out displays of disgust, with Bruce particularly hampered by the Ghanaian's loan move to Al Ain in the United Arab Emirates in September when the transfer window had already been shut.
Bruce, whose last match in charge was a 2-1 home defeat by ex-club Wigan, constantly bemoaned his misfortune and had been pleading to be afforded more time. But the former Manchester United stalwart was surely afforded a more than generous stint at the helm after having joined from the Latics in 2009.
Indeed, loyalty is not something the 50-year-old can have any right to demand from his employers given his propensity to ditch roles for more glamorous options at the first sight of an opportunity: for roles, read Wigan (twice), Crystal Palace, Birmingham City.
Martin O'Neill is the current favourite with the bookmakers, and is widely reported to be a closet Sunderland supporter, but whether or not it would be his 'boyhood dream' to join the club - ala Robbie Keane - remains very unclear.
O'Neill is openly keen on a return to the hurly burly of Premier League management, but he may not be overly enamoured with the prospect of working alongside another wealthy American owner with a penchant for downing Guinness in local pubs to display how 'in-touch' he is with the fans.
Randy Lerner may be similar to Short on the face of it, but the reality is that he has a stark paucity of cash in comparison to the Sunderland owner, whose vast £1.3 billion estimated net worth emphatically eclipses the £605m fortune of his compatriot.
Short makes Lerner seem about as cash-strapped as Bill Kenwright after a lavish night at the theatre, and the opportunity to take over at the apparently ambitious Black Cats may well be the perfect next step for O'Neill.
Mark Hughes is the other front-runner for the post, and if Sunderland fans want to see Carlos Tevez and the other proverbial horses from the Kia Joorabchian stable at the Stadium of Light then the dour Welshman may well be the right fit.
In reality, it's the move Hughes wants - and needs - to reignite a managerial career which has stalled alarmingly, due to his assessment of former club Fulham as apparently not worthy of his lofty ambitions.
But back to the sack race.
Kean's insistence that he 'enjoys the backing of the board' continues to do little to ally the unrest surrounding Ewood Park, and only highlight the assumption that he holds his job due to his relative excellence at delivering convincing Powerpoint presentations in Mumbai conference rooms.
Kean, between fielding questions over fans' protests and less than complimentary speculation, has to fly out to India regularly to 'check in with the Venky's', taking time out from arranging cones on the training field and feeding Yakubu.
Yes, it's a convenience for Kean, but he remains entirely at the owners' mercy, all while the Venky's continue to put the club in similar jeopardy off the field and hand their bewildered boss improved terms.
The club still have just a single league win this season on the board, and manager Kean remains under immense pressure from increasingly disgruntled supporters unconvinced at his ability to steer the club out of its current predicament.
Surely he will be next. Surely.
The latest from the satchel swingers...
Next for the sack race: Steve Kean (8/11) - Andre Villas-Boas (11/4) - Roberto Martinez (9/1) - Owen Coyle (9/1) - Mick McCarthy 11/1) - Harry Redknapp (16/1) - Alex McLeish (16/1) - Neil Warnock (20/1) - Tony Pulis (20/1) - David Moyes (20/1) - Martin Jol (20/1) - Arsene Wenger (33/1)
Next Sunderland boss: Martin O'Neill (8/11) - Mark Hughes (11/8) - Rafael Benitez (12/1) - Alan Curbishley (20/1) - Eric Black (25/1) - Carlo Ancelotti (25/1) - David Moyes (25/1) - Stuart Pearce (25/1) - Lee Clark (25/1) - Gareth Southgate (33/1) - Steve McLaren (33/1)
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COMING UP: Plenty more live action for you this evening as the Europa League resumes. We'll have live coverage of FC Twente v Fulham from 18:00 UK time, and Stoke City v Dynamo Kiev two hours and five minutes later. We'll also have the latest Injury Report from the esteemed Fantasist, and the latest offering from Never Mind the Ballacks blog.