It was always Gordon Brown's problem. It's turned out to be Philip Clarke's as well over at Tesco. And, despite his recent runs for England, it may well be Alastair Cook's too. But why are deputies so often such failures? Why, when they have spent years planning their accession and have been positively groomed to take over, do they invariably make such a hash of the top job?
On paper, a group of ageing middle class men wittering on for eight hours about a sport where very little can happen for five days straight doesn't sound like radio gold, however the BBC has turned it into an art form.
Men are either sycophants or narcissists. A fortunate few can even be both, such as the frankly scary Dominic Cummings, a close ally of Education Secretary Michael Gove and a person who is unlikely to have ever uttered the words: 'Sorry, you're right.'
Poor old Jonathan Agnew, the BBC's once universally loved voice of cricket. It would be wrong to say he has failed these last six months to hold the ECB to account, because that would imply he had tried to...
The ECB, whether it likes it or not, is not North Korea. It cannot disappear people without explanation, nor can it lie to the public about maladies afflicting key apparatchiks without facing repercussion of any sort.
Kevin Pietersen is just the latest casualty of a system which prizes orthodoxy above all else. Examples can be seen across the sporting spectrum in England (Danny Cipriani in Rugby Union, Pietersen and Jack Russell in cricket to name but a few), but football seems to take the biscuit for having the biggest homogenised mass of samey players.
Pietersen is arguably the most talented English player of the modern era. Simply by looking at his statistics it's clear to see that he was on the way to smashing the record book and becoming an England legend. However, look past the statistics and some would say you'd find an enigmatic talent, unwilling to adapt his game or listen to authority.
Kevin Pietersen is England's greatest ever run scorer. Roy Keane was arguably one of Manchester United's greatest ever players. Lewis Hamilton, was the whizz-kid extraordinaire. Three iconic sportsmen - but none of them are team players.
What the ECB did was wrong. Questions were answered, and I guess they still are, but they've done a disservice to someone that put 110% into England cricket. Regardless of the reports, the text messages, hands down he would be on that team sheet, for his sheer brilliance.
I strongly believe England's cricket team must stick together and learn from their experiences before refocusing their efforts on the next Test following their crushing defeat in the First Test of The Ashes against Australia.
It ended, not with a match-saving century or a game-winning delivery, but with bad light casting a shadow over the 2013 Ashes. However, the two sides are a lot closer than the scoreline would have you believe, as reflected in the following combined XI of the teams' best players...
It would be wrong to suggest that old is the new young. The likes of Agar and Root will return stronger for their difficulties in this series, and have every chance of playing a central role in the return series Down Under this winter. But those who derided Australia for calling up a 35-year-old must now retract their scorn.
Both sides have taken a gamble, albeit on players at opposite ends of their careers. Alastair Cook will be looking to lead from the front, and continue the remarkable form he showed in the 2010/11 series... The Aussies have bumped Shane Watson - who averages 48 in Ashes matches, 13 more than his overall average - back up to open, mostly due to a lack of other candidates.
Pietersen is England's best batsman, in all forms of the game. In fact, he's one of the most talented batsman England have ever had, certainly in recent years at least. An England side without him is an England side weakened, as evidenced in the performances against South Africa in the third Test, and more noticeably in the World T20.
The battle for the honour of being the world's best test cricket team should have been one of the highlights of the summer but the Kevin Pietersen saga has cast a very dark shadow over the spectacle. One that for the sake of English cricket needs to be resolved swiftly.
The Pietersen saga illustrates one of the key dilemmas of management and leadership. Star players (whether in sport or business) are often 'difficult' individuals - egotistical, conceited and selfish, yet sometimes, insecure and needy. How is it best to deal with them when they step out of line?