‘The Sunderland cycle’ finally seemed likely to come to an end when the Black Cats nailed down their Premier League status for 2016/17 on May 11.
Since the departure of Martin O’Neill in March 2013 the seasons have followed familiarly circuitous story.
Terminal relegation form leads to a change of manager, whereupon the new man steers the club to an improbable survival (via a derby win over Newcastle).
The following campaign all the coherence and togetherness evident during the battle against the drop dissolves into thin air and before long the same gaffer who had kept them up departs with the side once more facing a relegation battle.
Sam Allardyce’s arrival at the Stadium of Light had finally promised to end the cycle before its more sour notes could sound.
Having coaxed demotion-thwarting form from the bunch of irregulars he had inherited from previous poorly-thought-out regimes, he had the experience of building long-term Premier League stability that his predecessors had lacked.
Unfortunately, a team locked in even more lengthy cycles of hope and despair may wrench the much-travelled manager from the Stadium of Light dugout.
Allardyce is a short as 7/1 to be the next England manager after Roy Hodgson left the role in the wake of the side’s 2-1 loss to Iceland at Euro 2016.
Only 6/1 joint-favourites Jurgen Klinsmann and Glenn Hoddle are shorter in the betting at the time of writing.
Wearside’s finest are currently 100/30 to succumb to the forces of footballing gravity that have been threatening to suck them down the top-flight plughole for many of the nine seasons since they returned to it this term.
That price is sure to sink should Allardyce fly the nest and Sean Custis (the man who ghost-wrote his autobiography) has suggested he would take the England job if offered it.