Relegation-threatened Burnley have sacked manager Sean Dyche with eight games left to save their English Premier League (EPL) status.
The 50-year-old Dyche had been the longest-serving manager at any Premier League club, having taken charge in October 2012.
But he has now been shown the door with his side 18th in the Premier League and four points from safety, having won only four matches all season.
A statement said: “Burnley Football Club can confirm the club has parted company with manager Sean Dyche, assistant manager Ian Woan, first-team coach Steve Stone and goalkeeping coach Billy Mercer.”
The surprise decision brings to an end a reign in which Dyche twice gained promotion from the Championship and regularly overachieved on a small budget.
This included a seventh-place finish in 2018 which earned a Europa League play-off place.
In September Dyche had signed a new contract, due to run until the summer of 2025.
His popularity at Burnley was such that a pub across the road from Turf Moor has been named after him.
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Alan Pace’s ALK Capital, who took over the club in December 2020, had indicated that securing Dyche’s future was key to their long-term vision for the club.
But they have now dispensed with his services in the belief the move can save their season.
Pace said: “First, we will like to place on record our sincere thanks to Sean and his staff for their achievements at the club over the last decade.
“During his time at Turf Moor, Sean has been a credit both on and off the pitch, respected by players, staff, supporters, and the wider football community.
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“However, results this season have been disappointing.
“While this was an incredibly difficult decision, with eight crucial games of the campaign remaining, we feel a change is needed to give the squad the best possible chance of retaining its Premier League status.”
Burnley breathed life into their survival bid with a comeback 3-2 win over fellow strugglers Everton last week.
But they blew any chance of building momentum with a 2-0 loss away to bottom side Norwich days later.
Given that defeat was five days ago, the timing of the announcement a little over 48 hours before Sunday’s match at West Ham comes as a surprise.
Summer signing Maxwel Cornet, who missed a glorious chance when Burnley were 1-0 down at Carrow Road, has struggled with fitness at times.
Wout Weghorst, brought in to cover for the unexpected loss of Chris Wood to Newcastle United in January, has only one goal in 12 appearances.
In his statement, Pace said 32-year-old club captain Ben Mee would form part of the coaching staff for Sunday’s trip to West Ham.
“Under-23s coach Mike Jackson, assisted by academy director Paul Jenkins, Under-23s goalkeeping coach Connor King and club captain Ben Mee have been asked to take charge of the team for Sunday’s game with West Ham United,” Pace said.
“The process of replacing Sean has begun and further announcements will be made to supporters in due course.”(dpa/NAN)