It would be hard to overstate just how much of an unmitigated disaster Gus Poyet's first match in charge of Sunderland ended up being.
When Gustavo Augusto Poyet Dominguez took to the away dugout at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday afternoon he was all smiles. He was brimming with confidence having spoken of giving his players a 'crash course' in how he wanted to play the beautiful game and he was ready to watch the magic happen.
The 45-year-old Uruguayan cut a jovial, relaxed, confident and breezy figure eagerly anticipating seeing his players - refreshed and unburdened following the departure of the supposedly tyrannical Paolo Di Canio - bask in the promise of new beginnings.
Indeed, by half-time his team - despite having been thoroughly outplayed and dominated in every respect - remained hopeful that, with the game still goalless, there could be points for the taking against Swansea that would set them on their way to a wonderful revival.
Then it all unravelled. Spectacularly. Soberingly. In quite spectacular fashion, Sunderland capitulated, and it was not in the least bit pretty. It swiftly dawned on Poyet that this was actually fast turning into a chastening baptism of fire - a day to banish from the mind as quickly as possible.
Poyet has taken on a job that he must already be regretting having ever entertained the prospect of taking; he has embarked on a challenge that is almost not worth confronting, such is the scale of what he is up against.
The travelling supporters roared their disapproval and displayed their disgust - it was 4-0 but it could so easily have been nine as Swansea eased off in charitable, almost patronising fashion in the final stages of a hopelessly one-sided encounter.
This was supposed to be the bright new beginning, a glimpse of a fresh, optimistic, hopeful start. Poor Gus - what have you done? Where can it all go from here?
Here is Poyet's Sunderland reign so far in pictures. Miserable portraits, on the most part, of a man who is beginning to wonder if his heart really has overruled his head.
Back to the beginning: To the unveiling, to the talk, to the hype - let's all just soak this in and enjoy it...
He was emotional and he was proud. He was also, crucially, yet to taste any action at the helm. 'How bad could this job really be?' he no doubt wondered to himself...
Doubt had already begun to creep in after meeting the players, but hey, he had a nice new gold-plated timepiece and a crisp Armani suit - these lads could be shaped into a vaguely competent and competitive unit, surely...
To the Boot Camp: training the perceived 'slackers' inherited from that feisty Italian...
Right, well Seb Larsson sauntered around the training ground in three-quarter-lengths while Wes Brown sported a heavy-knit woollen scarf snatched from the club shop during supposedly exhausting fitness drills, but... well, these players have experience at this level. There was reason to remain relatively upbeat. The lads would surely benefit from fresh and ingenious methods and inspirational motivation.
Training over for another day - drills ambled through, exercises half-heartedly negotiated. Still, this was an international break and there was nothing apparently wrong with the players indulging in a few hefty nights out and fruitless trips to the casino. Well, except for Phil Bardsley, of course. He would be afforded a second chance, a reprieve. If he performed.
PRESS CONFERENCE: A chance for everyone to be reminded - from the fans to the media - of the new ultra-positive influence the staff now had on the players and how hard everyone was working to ensure that these new exciting methods would bear fruits.
"The Thursday and Friday before the Swansea game will be unbelievable for them," said Poyet. "The amount of information they are going to get is incredible. It will be a nightmare for the players coming back. I need them all in to convince them to be ready. It is going to be very demanding for them over those days.
"I just ask them to believe and be really open minded in the beginning," continued Poyet. "They need to take it on board and to take it on board very quickly. Those who do it quickest stand a greater chance of playing. They will think 'there's a new manager who has come in, I haven't been around, so I am going to be out of the team'."
And so to matchday, to the beginning of the adventure...
PRE KICK-OFF: A chance for a buoyed and bullish new manager to soak in the applause of the travelling faithful, to pose for a few snaps with a flattering merino wool v-neck and pristine white twill shirt. An occasion to savour, a chance for everyone to see what had been worked on during the break and to recognise that a change of management would inevitably bring about results.
And so it began...
Swansea 0-0 Sunderland - Okay, so Michael Laudrup was already looking mightily smug and his side were dominating in a big, big way. The players patently hadn't responded to the changes. S***. Some of the weaker souls in the backroom staff could hardly bear to watch. Still, it was goalless and sitting down in the dugout made it look as though a calm, relaxed approach would eventually prevail.
Swansea 1-0 Sunderland - Ah, yes. That bad-boy Bardsley was given another chance after his lying-in-cash antics on the casino floor, and this is how he repaid the man who put his faith in him... with an own-goal. An exceptionally shoddy one at that. Off his back? Pah! Okay, well there was still time for a recovery - there was only one goal in it.
Swansea 2-0 Sunderland - One minute later and it was two. It was a bloody good one too. Jonathan de Guzman doubled Swansea's lead and now it was time to stand up on the dugout and really give the lazy buggers on the pitch a piece of the boss's mind. Had they not listened to anything that was painstakingly made clear from those powerpoint presentations over the break?
Swansea 3-0 Sunderland - Craig Gardner fell over himself and Leon Britton, conceded a penalty in the most hapless fashion imaginable. Do the lads even know what the ball looks like? Do they realise that the club are sinking faster than Steven Fletcher's stricken Jag mired back in the mud outside the training ground? The players were showing no desire, no confidence, no application and, dare someone say it, no ability.
Swansea 4-0 Sunderland - Even the lad with the ponytail and the heavily-waxed facial hair was able to score! This was beyond a joke. Chico, right? He's not even talented. The players cannot be bothered, so why should the manager? It's over, already. There has not been any response, any desire to improve, any glimpse that things could be about to look up. And Swansea were keeping the ball as though it's an exhibition match with Paddy McGuinness. Argh!
FULL TIME: Swansea 4-0 Sunderland - Well, if you can't compete with them, join them. Why should any manager try to haul this lot off the pitch and pander to them through the season - or worse still drag them kicking and screaming through the campaign? This is an unenviable position beyond comprehension.
Still the pressure is going to ease off slightly now. Who's next up? Oh, yes - Newcastle. Things could get better, or they could just get worse.
POST MATCH: Time to ease down with a flagon of plonk and a tumbler of single malt. Tomorrow is a new day and one point from eight matches is better than... say, no points.
"I learnt a lot from my players today, particularly in the second half," Poyet said. "It's difficult to explain. Any team can concede a goal, if you cannot play any more because you concede a goal, you deserve to be at the bottom. I thought I had picked the right team... now if you were to ask me if I did, I would not be sure."
"What a game we have next week. It is becoming serious, it is a derby, we are at home, we are not winning games and now is the time to start."