Gerard Houllier followed briefly until illness curtailed his stay and then the wheels really started to come off.
Alex McLeish followed but his connection with hated city rivals Birmingham saw more than 1,000 signatures on a petition against his appointment and angry scenes before he’d even stepped through the door.
McLeish and his successor Paul Lambert were ordered to slash the wage bill, bomb out players who were earning too much or on lengthy contracts.
They had their hands tied behind their backs and it was only when Sherwood arrived that there was the briefest glimpse of a brand new dawn.
But the success of an impressive FA Cup semi-final win over Liverpool last season was followed by a Wembley thrashing in the final at the hands of Arsenal.
Sherwood began to complain of dark forces clouding his vision – the appointment of sporting director Hendrik Almstadt to work along with director of recruitment Paddy Riley.
And for all Lerner’s critics he chucked another £55m at new players last summer, most of which have made little or no impression at all.