There comes a moment in every player's career when he knows it's time to move on, to seek a new challenge. For Sunderland's Kenwyne Jones, that crossroads was duly reached in the 4-3 defeat at Manchester City.
It should have been a moment of great joy as he put the finishing touch to Jordan Henderson's cross to drag the Black Cats level for a second time in a thrilling encounter.
Instead, the forward was left to celebrate virtually alone as his Sunderland team mates rushed almost to a man to congratulate Henderson on his role in the goal, rather than with an isolated-looking Jones.
Did the polarised celebrations perhaps betray the respective popularity of the two players within the squad? Possibly.
Suddenly, a stadium of 40,000 people must have seemed a rather lonely place, giving Jones ample opportunity to reflect that both for him and the club, it would be better if he moved on.
It is a parting of the ways that should have come at the start of this year, when Tottenham Hotspur, for reasons known only Harry Redknapp, offered a deal rising to eight figures to take the Trinidad & Tobago international to White Hart Lane.
Sunderland turned down what for them would have been a club record amount, largely based on the flawed thinking that they wanted to make a statement that they were no longer a selling club, and were not in the business of flogging their best players at the first opportunity.
Yet the truth is that Jones isn't one of their best-performing players, and they were instead guilty of trying to take the moral high ground when they should have instead been taking the cash.
To turn down a deal that would have doubled their money for a player Roy Keane paid £6m for in 2007, a forward who has since gone on to reward them with a modest return of 10 Premier League goals in almost 12 months, was economic and footballing madness. Jones's 25 goals in 83 Sunderland appearances remains at best decent, rather than prolific.
The situation has been further complicated since the arrival as manager of Steve Bruce, who quickly lost patience with a forward he discovered like the rest of us can delight and infuriate, but not so much in equal measure. There is rather more of the latter than the former.
Bruce is old-school. He likes the Lee Cattermoles, Lorik Canas and Nyron Nosworthys of this world, those who make up for what them might lack in talent with their attitude and will to win.
If anything, Jones is the other way. All the talent in the world, but Bruce recently admitted he'd given up trying to ignite what little fire there seems to be in his belly.
Having been angered by the 25-year-old's petulant reaction to his substitution after an ineffectual display against Aston Villa, managerial muscles were duly flexed by dropping him to the bench at the City of Manchester Stadium in what is clearly a deteriorating relationship.
Perhaps there's an accusation to be levelled at Bruce in that it's his job to get the best out of his players, regardless of whether their characteristics and attitudes tally with his own. But football doesn't really work like that.
Managers like to surround themselves with players who reflect their own ethos, and Jones' laid-back approach will never meet with the approval of the straight-talking Geordie.
That's a discussion for another day. Best to part company now while on relatively cordial terms, than to succumb to the inevitable falling-out that is on the horizon, one which would weaken Sunderland's bargaining position when they come to sell.
Fraizer Campbell's continued struggles in front of goal mean that if and when he decides to sell Jones, Bruce must have a replacement lined up to partner Darren Bent, because it would be unthinkable for Sunderland to go from January to the end of the season without bringing in further striking reinforcements.
Stoke are keen to add Jones to their growing contingent of Stadium of Light exiles, and Tottenham remain interested in the Trinidad & Tobago international. That opens up the intriguing possibility of Robbie Keane, down the pecking order at White Hart Lane and a target for at least three previous Sunderland managers, finally making a Wearside stop-off in his nomadic career.
Given the respective value of the players, there would even be a few quid left to put towards Bruce's continued pursuit of Wigan's Maynor Figueroa, with Keane's Tottenham team-mate Michael Dawson another interesting the Sunderland manager as he assesses his defensive options for the second half of the season.