Exit door … Ian Crook after announcing his resignation from Sydney FC just six games into the job. Photo: Ben Rushton
Here we go again. Sydney FC are looking for a new coach, their seventh since the A-League began in 2005. Is there a more unflattering statistic in Australian football?
Yet as much as Sunday's announcement might have taken the football community by surprise, a looming sense of inevitability had taken hold over the past fortnight.
Though his tenure will not be remembered as a success, Ian Crook looked like the most relieved man in the world on Sunday. The pressure of managing Sydney FC is great, perhaps much greater than people understand. The A-League's profile is growing constantly, and Sydney have always been the team everyone wants to beat.
However, the signing of Alessandro Del Piero led to a soar in expectations which, arguably, got out of control. So successful was the splash in the marketplace that many assumed it would seamlessly translate into on-field success.
That was, after all, how it happened when Crook was the assistant manager to Pierre Littbarski in season one. But the A-League has evolved so much in such a short space of time that one player - unless he is at the absolute peak of his powers - can only have so much of an impact.
The grim reality is that Sydney, for all their bells and whistles, do not possess a team capable of consistently matching it with the best in the league. Crook knew this and was trying to change it. The next coach faces the same dilemma.
Inherent contradictions that pervade the fabric of the club must be addressed. Will the successor be charged with saving the season or mapping out a three-year strategy to have Sydney playing at the highest standard? The decision will say much about the board's vision.
Making the decision in-season is doubly complex, for there is still much to play for in this campaign without thinking about 2013-14 and beyond. It's a sticky situation, and 21 weeks is surely too long for a caretaker option.
There's also the challenge of finding a coach, with those who were available a few months ago, now obligated elsewhere. The naysayers may smirk that only Sydney could find themselves in such a mess.
Does the club have a cultural problem? Probably. The outrageous turnover of coaches and chief executives suggests as much. Whatever the case, the next coach must overcome that and be bold enough to balance out the unique demands of managing Sydney FC.
Don't be fooled into thinking it is an easy job. It never will be. Though they project an image of grandeur, Sydney can't spend a cent more on non-marquee players than, say, Central Coast or Adelaide.
However, expectations at Sydney will always be lofty because the city demands perpetual triumph. People get bored with losers and make no apologies for switching off.
How can you compete each year - or be seen to be in the mix - the way big European clubs do, without the same monetary muscle? That Sydney are routinely expected to beat clubs of a lesser stature is unfeasible.
So, what must they do from here? Take stock, first and foremost. Though they might be beating themselves up about hiring Crook, they have also dodged a bullet. The former Norwich City stalwart virtually admitted as much.
It wasn't that ''Chippy's'' head wasn't in it. It was; he was as meticulous as any other. However, his heart wasn't, and only after the win over Western Sydney did he realise how much the job had drained him.
What Crook perhaps underestimated was that being a modern manager encompasses a lot more than knowing the difference between a 4-5-1 and a 4-2-3-1. It's about managing the egos of a dressing room, a brazen media pack, an ambitious board, emotional fans, starry-eyed staff members and much more.
Added up, that was too much for him to bear. It was affecting his quality of life. He was taking the stress home and his health was suffering. Besides, he only ever loved training sessions, not press conferences.