Less than five years ago, the Eels were riding the crest of a Jarryd Hayne-inspired wave all the way to the grand final.
Now, the one-time NRL heavyweights are searching for their seventh coach in as many years after Ricky Stuart walked out after less than 12 months to take up a three-year deal with Canberra on Wednesday night.
"I didn't ask for this opportunity to present itself but it has and I know I am getting criticised," Stuart told the Ten Network.
"But I'll wear that for the the sake of my career and for my family."
Interim CEO Matt Phelan admitted the Eels were caught off guard by Stuart's exit as he'd assured them he'd be in charge next year.
"Every conversation we've had with Ricky and every indication he'd given to us was that he'd be the coach here in 2014 and honour his contract," Phelan told the club's website.
Stuart admitted after Sunday's 54-6 loss to Newcastle he had a release clause inserted in his contract due to a "volatile board" but Phelan denied there were issues with the existing powerbrokers who took control earlier this year.
"What he mentioned was that there was problems with the board but not specifically this board," he said.
"What's happening with our club is coming from outside influences - not from those directly involved on a day-to-day basis.
"Ricky also said leaving the club was for personal reasons."
The coaching recruitment drive will run alongside the hunt for a new CEO with Ken Edwards still to be replaced after being axed in July having spent just nine months at the club.
Neil Henry, Jason Taylor, who impressed in a caretaker capacity before moving to South Sydney in 2007, and Tim Sheens are the early favourites to take over from Stuart for what should be one of the prime jobs in the NRL - but has become a something of a poisoned chalice ever since Brian Smith left in 2006 after nine years at the helm.
Taylor, Michael Hagan, Daniel Anderson, Steve Kearney, Brad Arthur and now Stuart have all been brief incumbents in the Eels hotseat at Parramatta Stadium.
The loss of primary sponsors Pirtek after a disagreement with Edwards means the club are yet to rubber-stamp a major deal for 2014 - and doubts also remain about star recruit for next season Will Hopoate.
Hopoate, who returns to the NRL following a two-year Mormon mission, has a get-out clause in his contract which AAP understands allows him to look elsewhere should there be a change of coach.
The clause was initially put in when Steve Kearney was in charge, but Hopoate was keen to play under his former NSW coach Stuart who replaced the Kiwi mentor last year.
Phelan refused to comment on the issue of the former Manly youngster's contract, but said the club wouldn't rush to make a decision on Stuart's replacement.
"We're only just living with the decision of Ricky. The players are aware of what their obligations are over the rest of the season," he said.
"We'll work rigorously with our board to ensure we get the right person to coach this club in 2014 and beyond.
"We've got no decision on how long it will take. It will take as long as it takes to ensure we get the right person for this club."
"At the end of the day, this is a great football club and a great brand. The challenge is to turn it around to ensure we excel and bring players to our club."