Dick Advocaat has left Sunderland, the club have announced.
The Dutchman was under immense pressure following a dreadful start to the season that sees the club without a win in eight games and joint bottom of the table.
Advocaat, who joined the club in March of this year and helped the club stave of relegation, made the decision to go.
A statement on the club's website read: "Sunderland AFC have 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."
Advocaat told Sunderland's website: “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 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 always appeared reluctant to take the job full-time having originally come in on a temporary basis. He famously said that his wife would divorce him if he took the job.
Sunderland AFC chairman Ellis Short 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% in our best interests. It is also testament to his character that he has forgone 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.”
Who will be the next Sunderland manager?
Who will be the next Sunderland manager?
1/7 SAM ALLARDYCE
One of the safest pairs of hands around, the hugely experienced Allardyce, a former Sunderland defender, is available after his four-year spell at West Ham drew to a close at the end of last season. His proven track record with Bolton, Blackburn and the Hammers - if not Newcastle - make him a leading contender.
2/7 NIGEL PEARSON
Pearson performed miracles as Leicester won seven of their final nine games to secure their top-flight status at the end of last season. He is available after leaving the King Power Stadium during the summer.
3/7 SEAN DYCHE
Dyche's blend of positivity, realism and entertaining football during Burnley's ultimately unsuccessful bid to secure their Barclays Premier League status last season won him plenty of plaudits. He seems destined for bigger things, but his loyalty to the Clarets could prove an obstacle.
4/7 KARL ROBINSON
Robinson celebrated five years at the MK Dons helm in May and guided the club into the Sky Bet Championship last season as runners-up to Bristol City after twice missing out in the play-offs. At just 35, he is one of the rising stars of the managerial game.
5/7 JIMMY FLOYD HASSELBAINK
Former Leeds, Chelsea and Middlesbrough striker Hasselbaink led Burton to the League Two title last season after only taking over the club in November, and the promoted club currently top League One after 11 games. Like Di Canio and Poyet, he was a fine player and has enjoyed an encouraging start to his managerial career, but also like them, he is short on experience.
6/7 WALTER MAZZARRI
Former Inter Milan boss Mazzarri has been linked with Sunderland, as well as Liverpool, in recent days, and is reportedly learning English. However, the Black Cats had their fingers burnt the last time they appointed an Italian, albeit one without Mazzarri's curriculum vitae.
7/7 KEVIN PHILLIPS
A man who would need no introduction to fans who revered him for his goalscoring exploits in the red and white shirt, Phillips has embarked on a career in coaching since hanging up his boots. However, he is another whose lack of experience may count against him.
Burnley manager Sean Dyche has been installed as the favourite to replace Advocaat.
- More about:
- Sunderland AFC