Sunderland have confirmed that Dick Advocaat has stepped down as manager after failing to record a single Premier League victory this season.
The 68-year-old Dutch boss, who took charge in March with the club just one point above the relegation zone, had considered quitting the Stadium of Light and retiring over the summer after guiding the Black Cats to safety, but was persuaded to remain in charge, signing a new one-year deal.
However, despite a £25 million summer spend, which brought in the likes of Fabio Borini, Jeremain Lens and Yann M’Vila, Advocaat’s men made a disastrous start to the 2015-16 campaign.
Sunderland are winless in eight games this season, have the worst defensive record in the division and sit 19th in the table with just three points from a possible 24.
— Sunderland AFC (@SunderlandAFC) October 4, 2015
Advocaat has therefore stepped down to give a successor as much time as possible to turns things around, though says he has enjoyed his time on Wearside enormously.
“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 told the club’s official website.
“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.”
Advocaat’s last match in charge was Saturday’s 2-2 draw against West Ham, which saw the home side forfeit a two-goal lead as goalscorer Lens was sent off.
The veteran manager was thought to be considering quitting before his side extended their winless run to eight games, bringing down the curtain on a career that has featured 18 different managerial stints with sides such as PSV, the Netherlands, AZ, Rangers and Belgium.