Chelsea managers don't resign. They wait for Roman Abramovich's axe to fall, knowing that it won't be long and that the blow will be cushioned by a huge cheque.
And like Carlo Ancelotti before him, Andre Villas-Boas realised it was coming. There was an air of inevitability. It was merely a question of when and, after West Bromwich Albion's winner on Saturday, the answer became apparent.
Villas-Boas's position had become untenable. He was the manager who oversaw a mere three victories in 13 league games. He had lost the backing of the most influential figures in the dressing room and too few of the others were performing for him.
If, in the long term, he couldn't live with John Terry, Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba, Petr Cech and Ashley Cole, in the short term, he couldn't live without them either.
This was the impossible job, one that would have tried the skills of a proven great, let alone a rookie. And Villas-Boas was too inexperienced and too inflexible. He blundered too often, in his rhetoric, his tactics and his relations with his players.
Yet he operated with one hand tied behind his back. The time for revolution, to overhaul Chelsea's ageing side, was last summer when Villas-Boas was not damaged by defeats. It was then that Abramovich was reluctant to act and that delay has come at a huge cost; the £28 million it cost to fire Ancelotti and hire Villas-Boas may be compounded by a wasted year. And because of that and despite all his failings, the 34 year old may have been doomed from the start.