SO when did the axe fall on Carlo Ancelotti ?
At 6.24pm on Sunday May 22, it was possible to see the suited figure of the Italian stood behind the Goodison press room door.
Just two yards, and a pane of glass in front of him was the grinning David Moyes, who was holding forth about his contract extension. But Ancelotti, in the background, was on his mobile phone – seldom a good sign for a Chelsea boss at this stage of the day.
It is clear that Chelsea managers receive calls from the Abramovich hierarchy following the most important games. Whether these come from chief executive Ron Gourlay , chairman Bruce Buck, another of Abramovich's apparatchiks, or the man himself depends largely on how Roman is feeling about things.
I once stumbled upon the Special One himself, Jose Mourinho , taking such a call from Abramovich: in the tunnel at Wycombe Wanderers following a particularly poor performance in the Carling Cup in 2007. Let me tell you this, on the other end of that phone to Abramovich is a place that no Chelsea manager wants to be.
So when Ancelotti walked through the door into the press room yesterday, it was clear he had just taken The Call.
Though it won't have been a surprise to him – sources say an informal performance appraisal system had made it clear he was on his way following Chelsea's Champions League exit to Manchester United – that seems to be the precise moment when Ancelotti got his P45.
On the other end of a mobile phone, stood on a squalid landing, in the unseen corridors of a north west football ground is where the four-times European Cup winner was unceremoniously fired by the man who has everything in the world, but for one of those European Cups.
Ancelotti looked utterly crestfallen. His jowls hung heavy on his unshaven face; his head drooped low over the tiny press conference desk; his eyes greyed and almost disbelieving.
Working with Ancelotti over these two years, a sense of fun has come over that is not always apparent to those who only see him stood, arms-crossed in the technical area. A joker, with a love for life, in players tunnels up and down the country he has always been, among the team, the respected schoolteacher who is at the same time the butt and the focus of the class' pranks. Loved and doted-on by players, the banter clearly flowed: in English; in Italian; in good old-fashioned slapstick.
But that was all gone as he sat there. He had to undergo the ultimate indignity: performing for the press, toeing the company line. He publicly told people that a meeting was yet to be arranged with HR; but privately knew he had just been given his cards and told the contents his desk drawers would be FedExed to him in coming days.
He did, however, have time for one last joke. Asked by one reporter what he was going to do now, the prospects of a year cultivating the garden with £6m in his back pocket obviously passed though his mind.
He looked up, arched that eyebrow, smiled, and said: "I am on holiday now. For how long, I don't know." And then he left.