Relief. After nearly two years of misery, 37 defeats in 74 matches, only 21 wins, nine clean sheets, relegation, protests and low-flying planes, the new Batistuta, new Rooney and new Irwin, 'forfeits', farce and disastrous failure, the overriding feeling following Steve Kean's departure from Blackburn Rovers is relief.
But while Kean has finally realised his position was untenable, what now for Venky's, who are said to be 'very disappointed' at the manager's resignation and couldn't even finish the job of sacking him.
In the end, the club's owners have showed more disrespect to Kean than the fans ever did, refusing to back him despite huge pressure mounting over the course of the past week.
It's clear that Kean should never have got this far, and at any other club across the country he would surely have been handed his P45 at one of the many other low points during a dreadful reign.
But despite Venky's having an itchy trigger finger when it came to deciding Sam Allardyce's future shortly after their takeover in 2010, Kean has at times seemed unsackable. He was appointed with Blackburn 13th in the Premier League, almost managed the team to relegation in his first six months in charge, took them bottom at Christmas last season and eventually completed the club's downward spiral in May.
Although Kean's record asks obvious questions of his capabilities, it's hard to think of many coaches that would've walked away from the opportunity he had at Blackburn. And, for a while at least, his unfaltering confidence in his ability to turn the team's fortunes around was commendable.
However, as the boos turned to silence this season, with around 10,000 Rovers fans making their feelings clear by deserting Ewood Park despite improving results, it seemed inevitable that Kean would finally have to leave. What couldn't be predicted, though, was that the manager would exit of his own volition and that Venky's would again pass up the chance to make peace with supporters by demonstrating decisive action and leadership.
Why Kean was allowed to continue for so long when Allardyce was given precious little time to prove himself will only be revealed in the fullness of time. What we know now is that Venky's have just one opportunity left to convince Blackburn fans against a full-blown boycott. If they mess up the manager's replacement again, there will be no way back for them.
Tim Sherwood is an early favourite for the role, but appointing another coach with no management experience would be a mistake, regardless of Sherwood's success at the club as a player. What Blackburn need is a steady hand on the tiller, someone with a long-term plan to undo the damage inflicted by Kean and Venky's.
The fans will enjoy Kean's departure in the coming days and their immediate concern is remembering the chants they used to sing before 'Kean Out' became the sole cry at Ewood. But while the manager's exit hints at a brighter future, the grey clouds will remain until Venky's start making the right decisions.
This article first appeared on Football365