Howard Wilkinson: 10 October 2002 - 10 March 2003
The proven Yorkshireman and his assistant Steve Cotterill were shock outsiders for the Sunderland job and the scepticism around their appointments proved to be well-founded.
After successful stints at Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds United, where Wilkinson became the last Englishman to guide a team to top-flight success, Sunderland recorded just two Premier League victories in 20 games under his guidance.
Having beaten Liverpool for the first time on Wearside in 44 years, a Boxing Day defeat to Leeds in 2002 saw the start of a disastrous decline with only one point gathered from 10 games in the New Year.
Wilkinson and Cotterill were dismissed with the club rooted to the bottom of the table.