It is easy to be wise after the event, but it's difficult to imagine Manchester United in this position had they appointed Jose Mourinho rather than David Moyes last summer.
You can see why the United board and Sir Alex Ferguson in particular picked Moyes a year ago.
They craved the stability that had served them so well for the last 26 years and believed the Scot could offer it.
He came with bags of Premier League experience after 11 years at Everton, even if he had nothing in the way of trophies to show for it.
Mourinho is different. His CV is a list of short, sharp, successful spells at a series of clubs. He has won things in Portugal, England, Italy and Spain, but he never hung around anywhere for too long.
As a manager, Mourinho is about as close as it gets to guaranteed success. But the board chose Moyes and long-term stability, so they thought, over short-term gain.
But all that ended in tatters on Tuesday morning when United confirmed that Moyes would have to pay for a season of poor results with his job. And now they should be regretting the decision not to appoint Mourinho in the first place.
The majority of United fans agree with the decision to sack Moyes. But their relief is tempered with a fear that the short-list of replacements doesn't look particularly strong.
Last summer, Mourinho, Pep Guardiola and Carlo Ancelotti all took new jobs. They are three top-level managers, the type a club of United's size and ambition should be pursuing.
A year later, all three are spoken for. Borussia Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp is the fans' choice, but he has already ruled himself out of the running.
That leaves Louis van Gaal. He has the necessary experience and a CV to match.
But it is unlikely the Dutchman would have been that high on United's list last summer, given the calibre of the other available candidates.
This time, he is almost favourite by default.
United might have got rid of Moyes, but his appointment could continue to haunt the United board long after his severance cheque has cleared.
The chance to pick Mourinho, Guardiola or Ancelotti has been and gone. Now it's up to the club's hierarchy to pick the best from what's left.
By way of two sentences on the official club website on Tuesday, the club admitted they made a mistake last summer. They cannot afford to make another one.
It is unfortunate, then, that the process of hiring a new manager looks more difficult now than it did last summer.
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