The season has only just ended, but Sam Allardyce could begin the task of preparing Newcastle United for the next one tomorrow after a rapid weekend of negotiations.
United chairman Freddie Shepherd has called a board meeting this afternoon where Allardyce's appointment is expected to be ratified by his fellow directors.
Allardyce returned from holiday in Spain at the end of last week and United, who laboured to a draw at relegated Watford yesterday, instantly made their move to appoint him, less than a week after Glenn Roeder's resignation.
The two men met at top London restaurant Claridges on Friday and further talks were held over the weekend, at which Allardyce is understood to have been offered a four-year contract worth around £10m. The issue of compensation is expected to be discussed with Bolton once Allardyce has been unveiled.
The former Sunderland defender and coach, who has asked to bring in his own back room staff, will be one of the Premiership's best-paid managers after Shepherd refused to sway his determination to make him the club's manager, despite reported interest from former England coach Sven-Göran Eriksson and former Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier.
The speed of the appointment will please supporters, despite the fact there are still pockets of opposition to the former Bolton Wanderers manager. Allardyce will, unlike many of his predecessors, get a whole summer to form and implement the first stage of his rebuilding work, with a return to European competition the main objective in his first season in charge.
Contrary to reports, Allardyce has not made a decision on the futures of any of the players he will inherit at the club and he is expected to speak to the squad before they depart for their summer holidays this week.
Nevertheless, one of his first tasks will be to speak to Michael Owen - who suffered an injury scare yesterday when he was forced to leave the pitch with concussion midway through the second half - following reports last week that the England international can leave the club for just £9m. Allardyce will also have to decide whether the wants to keep the likes of Obafemi Martins, Kieron Dyer, Titus Bramble, Antoine Sibierski, Charles N'Zogbia, Emre and Scott Parker before he makes any moves in the transfer market.
Meanwhile, Newcastle caretaker-manager Nigel Pearson has criticised the attitudes of N'Zogbia and Martins after the pair missed the trip to Watford yesterday.
The Journal understands that Martins had been told on Saturday morning that he was only going to be among the substitutes at Vicarage Road as Shola Ameobi was going to start the game.
The Nigerian international made his feelings known and later declared himself unfit to travel because of a knee injury. Pearson chose his words carefully, but he was clearly incensed by his attitude which has arguably been in question for several weeks. Glenn Roeder's former assistant manager also had problems with N'Zogbia after the young Frenchman reacted angrily to the news that he was also only going to be on the bench yesterday.
N'Zogbia was seen leaving the stadium before kick-off and, although he later returned, Pearson revealed he had not behaved well.
"Oba declared himself unfit on Saturday. He reported a knee injury," said an unimpressed Pearson. "Charles was in the squad. He was on the bench originally, but I changed it and brought in Paul Huntington.
"I changed it because he (N'Zogbia) didn't really want to be there. All I will say is that it's very important that everybody associated with the club acts in a professional manner. Will he be disciplined? That's for next week, I don't want to add anything at this stage. I've got no idea if he stayed at the ground to watch the game. You can make your own judgements on that."
Pearson, though, had rather better news on Owen following his second-half collision with Matty Pattison briefly looked as though it was another serious injury.
He said: "Michael is okay, he's got mild concussion but it's nothing too serious. He hasn't had to go to hospital and it won't effect his plans.
"Like anybody else, your thoughts are with the player when you see him on a stretcher. Players have to deal with long-term injuries, but for a second there was a bit of concern.
"He'll have a headache, but there won't be any problem."