Sunderland seek new coach as Dick Advocaat quits
Dick Advocaat has left his job as Sunderland's head coach just four months after being persuaded to delay his retirement plans for a year.
The 68-year-old Dutchman, who was parachuted in to mastermind a nine-game rescue mission at the end of the last campaign, has walked away with the club sitting in 19th place in the Premier League on three points after winning none of their opening eight fixtures following Saturday's 2-2 draw with West Ham at the Stadium of Light.
Advocaat's departure was confirmed in a club statement which said: "Sunderland AFC has announced that Dick Advocaat has left his position as head coach at the club. The Dutchman informed the chairman of his decision to step down from his role and departs the Stadium of Light with immediate effect."
It is understood that the former Holland boss, who refused to discuss his future after the game, had decided to go whatever the result.
It leaves the Black Cats in a state of flux once again with sporting director Lee Congerton understood to be working a period of notice after tendering his resignation.
Advocaat said: "I want to thank everyone who has stood behind me. 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."
Advocaat's number two Zeljko Petrovic has also left the club.
Chairman Ellis Short, who is now embarking on the search for a replacement, said: "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 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 per cent in our best interests.
"It is also testament to his character that he has foregone any kind of a financial settlement.
"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."