Last week, with characteristically dry wit and safe in the knowledge that no one had suggested it should happen, Mick McCarthy ruled himself out of the reckoning to succeed Fabio Capello as the England manager.
By Sunday night, plenty in the Black Country would have happily accepted McCarthy's presence at the helm of country, rather than club. By yesterday morning, he was dismissed.
That is sad when someone achieves as much at a club as McCarthy, the most successful Wolverhampton Wanderers manager for three decades, has. Yet results as dramatic as Sunday's 5-1 derby defeat to West Bromwich Albion tend to have collateral damage. McCarthy took a fatal hit.
Even in idiosyncratic defiance, he had long looked wounded. Last month, Steve Morgan, the owner, branded Wolves' league position "unacceptable". That was even before the 3-0 loss to Liverpool that prompted the chairman to enter the dressing room to castigate the players.
It annoyed McCarthy but, as he said after last week's victory at Queens Park Rangers, the Wolves board had displayed greater patience than some of their counterparts elsewhere. He was endangered not by performances, which have generally been respectable, but by results.
His side won only three of their last 23 league games and they were against bottom-of-the-table Wigan Athletic, a Sunderland side without a manager and a QPR team reduced to 10 men for three-quarters of the game. Otherwise, they proved a team who were unable to win. Wolves turned in excellent displays against Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea and emerged with a haul of two points.
For every encouraging detail, however, there was a worrying sign.
Even as Steven Fletcher, McCarthy's biggest buy and his one guarantee of goals, maintained his prolific form at one end, the defence proved incapable of keeping a clean sheet at the other - the last was in August - to undo his fine work.
Team spirit is a traditional strength of McCarthy's sides and has been apparent throughout, except, damagingly for the manager, in the catastrophic capitulations to Liverpool and West Brom.
Undeniably, a record of 14 points from 22 games is relegation form. Yet if it took Morgan time to conclude this was a team in free fall, it was understandable. They seldom looked one. Yet in a season that initially seemed a repeat of the previous two - though survival is a scenario they would welcome now - ambitions were loftier after Morgan allowed his manager to spend for a third successive summer.
The £7 million (Dh40.6m) recruitment of Roger Johnson seemed a simple, if costly, way of improving the back four. In immediately making the newcomer captain, McCarthy illustrated his importance. Yet Johnson failed to replicate his Birmingham City form and Wolves have suffered.
Kevin Doyle is another supposed talisman but while the Irishman keeps on running, he has stopped scoring. His return stands at three goals in 22 games, an inadequate return for a £6.5m striker. Another of the costlier buys, Stephen Hunt, has lost his place in the team.
When the pedigree players underperform, it highlights the fact that McCarthy's strength in the transfer market - he is an outstanding judge of a fine Championship footballer - is also his weakness. That, in turn, places too great a reliance on the proven class acts like Fletcher, Matt Jarvis and Wayne Hennessey.
The goalkeeper erred for Albion's first two goals, but he also saved Wolves with a series of stops. Even so, they have not suffered a heavier home defeat to West Brom since 1893. Such humiliations tend to bring repercussions. This was no exception.
And though McCarthy got Wolves promoted to the Premier League and became the first manager in quarter of a century to keep them there, though he was honest and apologetic after the game, though he has experience of winning relegation battles and though there is no obvious successor waiting in the wings, there was a sense of inevitability about his dismissal.
It was an ignominious way for an excellent era at Molineux to end.
There was plenty of scepticism when Tottenham's deadline-day acquisitions included an injury-prone, goal-shy 33-year-old striker.
On his home debut for Spurs, Louis Saha illustrated why, despite his Everton career ending unimpressively, managers such as Jean Tigana, Sir Alex Ferguson, David Moyes and now Harry Redknapp have signed him.
His first-half brace highlighted the attributes of a player who may lack fitness and mental strength but has virtually every attribute a centre forward could require: genuinely two-footed to the extent that he has scored penalties with both, quick and with a natural spring, he can hold the ball up or run in behind defences and is able to prosper as a lone striker or as half of a partnership.
In tandem with Emmanuel Adebayor, who ended the 5-0 rout of Newcastle United with one goal and an improbable four assists, he wreaked havoc on Saturday.
Thierry Henry's parting contribution to Arsenal could come tomorrow against AC Milan.
If he does not feature, his second spell at Arsenal started and ended wonderfully. After scoring the only goal on his second debut, against Leeds, his final gift to the club was Saturday's winner at Sunderland.
Even for fans of other clubs, both were wonderful moments.