Bryan Robson had suffered the sort of afternoon which must make any player wonder if he's doing the right thing going into management. But he still had the good grace to sit back and wish his old Manchester United team-mate, Roy Keane, all the best as a boss.
Keane was just getting used to the idea of filling Robson's boots at Old Trafford when his predecessor as a United legend started in management, also in the North-east, at Middlesbrough 12 years ago.
Now, after a headline-making playing career, Keane has had to mend a few fences to get his first chance with Sunderland. His chairman Niall Quinn, who played a key role in direct opposition to Keane in that infamous World Cup row with Mick McCarthy four years ago, had a wry grin on his face when he admitted: "All chairmen and managers row. We've just got ours out of the way over the last few years."
But, although Keane will probably never have a bigger effect on any team he manages than the one his mere presence inspired against West Bromwich Albion yesterday afternoon, Robson still backs his old team-mate to be a hit.
"Roy's his own man," said Robson. "He'll make decisions in his own way, but he's going into this with real relish and I'm sure he'll be successful, because he's got good footballing intelligence."
After losing to the Championship's bottom club, Robson could only curse his luck at having this game thrown up in the very week that Keane's management baptism sparked such emotions.
"There's no doubt Roy's bought a buzz to the place," said Quinn. "My players responded to that. They were playing for their futures and what they did was astonishing, given what they've been through over the past few weeks."
"The announcement clearly got their fans up for it," agreed Robson. "They're obviously delighted Roy's going be the new manager and that helped lift the players.
"Something certainly affected my players, because this was a bit of a shock to the system. We were so ineffective in the first half, I could not believe it.
"We got out-worked and out-fought and that's how you lose football matches. Even before the first goal, there were so many times Sunderland could have scored. We were on TV with a reputation to uphold, but I don't enjoy watching games like that when we didn't perform."
To make matters worse, Albion captain Curtis Davies ended up limping after aggravating a foot injury initially suffered at Leyton Orient last Thursday night and which now threatens to rule him out of England Under-21 duty this Friday evening.