So who are the contenders for the Sunderland manager's job
Gus Poyet was sacked yesterday. Here are some of the main contenders to replace him
Ball could take caretaker charge but his prospects of landing the job permanently look slim after he was moved away from his development job and into an ambassadorial role by the club's hierarchy. A popular figure with the fans after a distinguished nine-year playing spell on Wearside, he has acted as caretaker twice before after the sackings of Mick McCarthy and Paolo Di Canio.
Another former Sunderland player, although only for a single season, Allardyce is yet to be offered a new deal at West Ham and will be out of contract in the summer. The 60-year-old (right) has never won over the Hammers faithful despite leading them to promotion and respectability in the Premier League and a move away from east London may appeal. But it is doubtful West Ham would allow him to leave before the end of the season.
The well-travelled Dutchman is available after leaving his post as Serbia manager last year and would provide an experienced head after the relative novices of Di Canio and Poyet. The 67-year-old's glory days came in the 90s as he won titles in Holland and Scotland but he led Zenit St Petersburg to the UEFA Cup in 2008. He has twice managed his country.
Has not managed since leaving Wolves in 2006 but is still well respected in coaching circles and always seems to be in the frame when jobs become available. The 57-year-old former England boss was appointed as a coach at QPR in August but left after Harry Redknapp's departure in February and is currently working as a pundit. Hoddle has enjoyed some success in the Premier League but it is unclear whether a relegation battle would appeal.
Sacked by Villa last month with the club facing their own relegation battle, the Scot could potentially be a hard sell to the Sunderland fans. However, he did a reasonable job with relatively limited resources at Villa Park until their slump this season and is not one to shy away from a battle.
The Dane enjoyed a largely successful spell at Swansea, guiding them to the League Cup in 2013, after earning many plaudits in his home country and Spain. The former Barcelona and Real Madrid midfielder left south Wales under a cloud in February of 2014 and is currently managing Qatari outfit Lekhwiya. He was recently linked with the QPR job but dismissed those reports and his free-flowing style of football would likely prove popular.