When Dutch manager Dick Advocaat accepted the job of coaching the Belgian national team in June, he also set a final departure date from Zenit of Dec. 31, 2009.
That date is now no more.
Zenit command has decided to remove Advocaat prematurely from his post after a series of horrendous events that have the club currently in total free-fall.
Less than 24 hours after a 2-0 home defeat at the hands of Tom Tomsk in what may have been the worst match played by any Zenit side in the last 15 years, management needed to do something. And very quickly.
As the weeks went on, it became increasingly apparent that Advocaat was unhappy and uninterested in managing Zenit any longer. After the departures of many players he had incredible success with, including long-time captain Anatoliy Tymoschuk, the Sky Blues have been in a state of disarray.
He also was very public about his feelings towards both of Zenit's new signings, Belarusian striker Sergei Kornilenko and Italian attacking midfielder Alessandro Rosina.
After saying he "did not want" Rosina and was shocked that the club bought a player without his consent, things rapidly began to deteriorate.
Since June 19, Zenit has not won a match, drawing at home with 10-man Rubin Kazan and losing to 10-man Terek Grozny. But neither of those were as dismal as yesterday's performance at the Petrovsky.
Advocaat made no substitutions, even after falling behind 1-0, and eventually 2-0. He changed nothing in terms of team strategy at halftime. And it eventually cost the club much needed points, as Zenit had beaten the same Tom side 3-0 earlier in the season.
Youth manager Anatoliy Davydov will be appointed interim coach and it is unclear whether he will only be a temporary manager or an eventual replacement.
Despite the events that came to pass over the last several weeks, Advocaat will still be remembered as the most successful manager in club history.
He captured the Russian Premier League crown in 2007, followed by the UEFA Cup, UEFA Super Cup, and Russian Super Cup in 2008. He was also granted honorary citizenship of the city of St. Petersburg, an honor that had not been awarded in over 150 years.
Good luck in all your future endeavors, Sir Advocaat.
You worked wonders for Zenit and the city, taking the club to unprecedented heights that would have been unimaginable only a few years ago. But this move was the best for everyone.