Steve Bruce will welcome Mick McCarthy back to Sunderland on Sunday eternally grateful for the revolution that has taken place since his departure.
The current Black Cats boss will lock horns with one of his predecessors with the Wearside club now operating on a completely different level to the one on which McCarthy found himself during his three years at the helm.
Bruce has invested £36million in new signings since his arrival at the Stadium of Light during the summer, a war-chest that helped him to attract the likes of Darren Bent, Lee Cattermole, Fraizer Campbell and Lorik Cana to the club.
That kind of spending spree, funded by American owner Ellis Short, existed only in McCarthy's wildest dreams when he set about the task of rebuilding his squad for life in the Barclays Premier League after dragging them back into the top flight at the second attempt in 2005.
His budget allowed him to spend £1.8million on striker Jon Stead and £1.25million on keeper Kelvin Davis but most of his acquisitions were free transfers and Sunderland hurtled straight
back into the Championship with a then record low 15 points.
Bruce freely acknowledges he is in a privileged position and said: "The club has changed in that respect, of course, and we are thankful we have got an owner who obviously wants the club to progress. That's going to take a little bit of time, as I keep trying to say, but we will get there, I am sure of that."