Two games into the 2016/2017 Premier League season, David Moyes delivered a damning verdict on his Sunderland side's ambitions in the Premier League.
"I think it will be [a relegation battle], I don't think you can hide the facts, that will be the case, yes. People will be flat because they are hoping that something is going to dramatically change - it can't dramatically change, it can't. [The fans] would probably be right because that's where they've been every other year for the last four years, so why would it suddenly change?"
Just three months earlier, Midlands minnows Leicester City lifted the league trophy after a miraculous and inspiring campaign. The Foxes had only regained a place in the Premier League two years earlier, and battled hard to keep their place the season before, but a series of savvy buys and the appointment of Claudio Reineri saw them storm away at the top of the table for months on end on a wave of neutral support.
If that underdog story had given Sunderland fans any semblance of pre-season hope, then Moyes was quick to quash it. They had finished the last season two points above the drop-zone, and Big Sam Allardyce's successor was looking to hover around the same altitude come May time.
Ultimately, they finished some way short: 20th place with a tally of 24 points, capped off with a 5-1 drubbing to champions Chelsea.
Sunderland were far from the worst rock-bottom no-hopers in Premier League history. That honour goes to 2008's Derby County team, who managed one win and 11 points all season. Then there was Portsmouth, who racked up 19 points and a debilitating debt that still plagues them to this day. And Moyes' Sunderland team can't compete with their 2005 equivalents, who finished a full 15 points below 19th place.
But Sunderland's recent submission might just be the most pitiful. All of those teams were either facing financial adversity or their first year back into the top flight, where the change in standard can soon transform trophy lifters into bottom feeders. Moyes' just threw away his hand without even taking a look.
It's a defeatism that has defined the former Everton boss since he left Merseyside for Manchester in 2013. It was always going to be an impossible act to follow Sir Alex Ferguson, and Moyes tried to manage expectation from day one. Alas, results were average and the new boss lasted only ten months in the job (the shortest of any United manager).
In fairness his record was almost identical to successor Louis Van Gaal's, but Moyes' underwhelming tenure was all but over as soon as he ecstatically celebrated a last-minute equaliser against lowly Fulham. It dented United's pride, and made Moyes' role untenable.
He then spent a season in Spain with Real Sociedad, where he got the sack a few months into his second season. Almost a year later, he agreed to take the reins of Sunderland from then England boss Sam Allardyce.
Now, Moyes has suffered relegation for the first time in his career.
It's a sad story-arch for a man who looked to have struggled his way to the top after years of impressive hard graft at Everton (a true underdog story in itself) but Sunderland fans were far from sympathetic once they heard about Moyes' last act as manager.
When John Terry was substituted against Sunderland in the 26th minute – a reflection of his shirt number – in his last professional game, supporters couldn't believe it was merely luck or coincidence. Moyes proved them right soon after the game, admitting that his team had agreed to put the ball out in the 26th minute so that Chelsea could pull of a ceremonial guard-of-honour as he trudged slowly off the pitch. The score was 1-1.
It proved to be the final, pitiful act of surrender for a manager who aimed only for the bare minimum and didn't even come close.
Today, Moyes resigned from his role at Sunderland. You can only hope that wherever he turns up next, he not only believes in his team, but also himself.