An angry Niall Quinn last night ridiculed reports saying that Roy Keane had resigned from Sunderland on Thursday by text message.
Quinn, the club chairman, who is not prone to such outbursts, stressed once again the progress of Sunderland under Keane and said an illustration of that is the interest already being shown "from around the globe" in being Keane's successor.
"To say I am dismayed by the reporting of Roy Keane's alleged resignation by text message is an understatement," he said. "I would ask the media to give Roy a break. Down the years they've had enough good stories out of him without having to make them up. This text 'resignation' just did not happen. It's as simple as that and I do not want it to become accepted as fact."
Following Keane's departure, Sunderland began their recruitment process yesterday. Sam Allardyce has been installed as the bookmakers' favourite and has made no secret of his willingness to take the job, but his recent past at Newcastle is a consideration if not a hindrance. There would also be some interest from Blackburn Rovers in Allardyce should they decide to sack Paul Ince.
Others said to have made contact are Alan Curbishley, formerly at Charlton, and Gus Poyet, recently departed from Tottenham. From abroad, the former Chelsea manager Avram Grant's name has been mentioned as has Felix Magath, the manager of Wolfsburg.
"People should not forget how far this club has come under Roy Keane's leadership and the journey continues," Quinn said. "We are very encouraged that we have already been contacted by enough people from around the globe to know that Sunderland is a major attraction.
"We have an open mind about the next manager. We will be professional in the selection process and will take as long as is necessary to get the right man. There's a great team off the field as well as on it. We are putting together a list and we'll take it from there."