Southampton have sacked their manager, Alan Pardew, just two days after the team's 4-0 win at Bristol Rovers. The League One side yesterday issued a statement claiming "it is essential to make changes to the first-team management and coaching".
The 49-year-old led Saints to the Johnstone's Paint Trophy in March with a 4-1 win over Carlisle at Wembley, and though they started the season as firm favourites for promotion to the Championship, a return of only one win in their first three matches has left them 14th in the table.
The board also relieved firm-team coach Wally Downes and goalkeeping coach Stuart Murdoch of their duties with immediate effect.
According to the statement, the decisions were taken to help the club "achieve its well-known targets" following "a review of the current status in and around the first team".
"We recognise that frequent changes to the football management are unlikely to assist in the winning of trophies and promotions. However, we are taking these steps to achieve our aims, which we share with all supporters, to get promoted this season," it said.
Assistant manager Dean Wilkins has been appointed as caretaker while Southampton begin their search for Pardew's replacement.