'It was Sunderland or nobody' - Dick Advocaat walks away from Black Cats
Dick Advocaat has rejected the opportunity to become permanent head coach at Sunderland.
The Black Cats confirmed on Wednesday evening that the 67-year-old, who was drafted in in March for just nine games in which he was able to secure the club's Barclays Premier League status, would not be returning to Wearside.
Chairman Ellis Short said: "Although I am extremely disappointed, I understand and absolutely respect his decision. In his brief time here, he made a real impact and lifted the club with his experience and enthusiasm. We will always be grateful to him for what he achieved."
Advocaat revealed he had received several offers of employment, but while admitting Sunderland was the only one he would have considered, decided to end his career in club football.
The Dutchman said: "At certain moments in your life, you have to make a decision and I am almost 68 years old now. A number of clubs contacted me, but the decision was always Sunderland or nobody.
"I would like to thank the Chairman, [sporting director] Lee [Congerton], the staff and of course the fans. We gave everything in our time there and achieved what we set out to. Sunderland has been one of the highlights of my career."
Sunderland turned to Advocaat in desperate need after dispensing with the services of Gus Poyet, who had himself engineered a remarkable escape 12 months earlier.
Like Poyet and his predecessor Paolo di Canio, he led his team to derby victory over Newcastle in his second game at the helm.
In all, Sunderland collected three wins and three draws from the nine fixtures for which he was in charge, and the 12 points they claimed as a result assured their top-flight status with a game to spare after a 0-0 draw at Arsenal last Wednesday evening.
Now the club faces the task of securing yet another man to take over at the helm in a competitive market with the Magpies and West Ham also surveying the available talent.
Congerton and Short will conduct that mission with the former also expressing his appreciation for Advocaat, who had promised his wife he would not stay before being bitten by the bug once again.
He said: "I know it was a tough decision for Dick to make, but he felt that he couldn't commit to the intense rigours of club management on a longer-term basis and we respect his honesty.
"In his short time here, he was fantastic to work with. He had and will continue to have the utmost respect of everyone here at Sunderland.
"I would like to sincerely thank him, along with his assistant Bert van Lingen and coach Zeljko Petrovic, for the hard work and dedication they showed in the last two months and they leave with the very best wishes of everyone at the club for their achievements."