Who will succeed Mick? Bally has the job for now but who are the other front runners. We assess the candidates...
Kevin Ball - has the job for the rest of the season. A fans favourite from his time at the club as a midfield general. Has passion and grit in abundance and will be hoping to pass this on to his players. One thing is for sure he will take no prisoners. Depending on how the remaining games go he may well get the job permanently in the summer. The fans and Murray will be hoping he can be our own Stuart Pearce.
Martin Allen - The Brentford manager is one of the many reason McCarthy has been sacked this morning, for it was his league one side that knocked Sunderland out of the FA Cup, outspoken and unorthadox, Murray is unlikely to warm to this option.
Adrian Boothroyd - The young manager is having a fantastic season at Watford and has earned many plaudits this season and last. His availability could well depend on his side's success this season, as they could well be in a division higher than Sunderland next season.
Nigel Clough - Son of Sunderland legend Brian Clough, he is currently learning his game at the lower levels of English football with Burton Albion. Sure to make the step up to the football league anytime soon, will it be Murray who takes the risk with Sunderland?
Kevin Keegan - Allegedly approached by Murray several months ago, the former Newcastle boss would certainly be a controversial choice. Unlikely to make his managerial return with a Championship side, never mind Newcastle's biggest rivals.
Alex Mcleish - Success in Scotland with Rangers, despite this season's failings in the league, mean that he will probably be looking for a job in the Premiership. Nonetheless Murray may well see him as a sound option and may be tempted to make an approach.
Mike Newell - Currently doing well at Luton, technically and tactically adept and his side plays good football. Would relish a chance to manage a club as big as ours although, after making an audacious bid to bring Robbie Fowler to Luton earlier this season, it could be argued that he'd be too ambitious for our board.
Martin O'Neil - Gary Rowell called for Murray to make an audacious bid to bring O'Neil to Wearside. Said to be a Sunderland fan, this appointment would put Sunderland fans in dreamland. However courted by England and Newcastle, it is fair to say if Martin O'Neil is the next Sunderland manager there'll be a few surprised people in the footballing world!
Stefan Schwarz - Another former fans favourite, has spent the last few years coaching the Swedish national team and acquiring his UEFA coaching badges. Another steely character, with a calmness of character to boot.
Other potential candidates:
**Who do you want to take over? More to the point, who do you think Murray will want? Do you think Bally can do it full time? Have your say on the fans forum here. Register to win prizes for simply posting in the new Members League!**