Dick Advocaat said “the time is right” to leave Sunderland after the club confirmed the manager’s departure.
The 68-year-old, 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.”
Press Association Sport understands 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.
But as he departed, 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.
“I have made the decision to go after only eight games as I felt it was important to give everyone time to turn things around – like we did last year. I am thankful to the chairman (Ellis Short) for understanding my feelings and I remain on good terms with everyone at the club.
“I wish Ellis, Lee, 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 number two Zeljko Petrovic has also left the club.
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, something which is very unusual in football.
“I want to place on record my sincere thanks to Dick. He will be remembered with great affection by everyone at Sunderland and there will always be a warm welcome for him here at the Stadium of Light.
“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.”
— Sunderland AFC (@SunderlandAFC) October 4, 2015