Sunderland have sacked manager Gus Poyet after 18 months in charge.
The Black Cats are currently 17th in the Premier League, just a point above the relegation zone, after suffering a humiliating defeat at home to Aston Villa on Saturday.
Villa had only scored four goals away from home all season but had scored that many by half-time as Poyet's team produced an embarrassing first 45 minutes.
Thousands of Sunderland fans left the ground before the break, while others attempted to storm the dugout to give the Uruguayan a piece of their mind. Those who stayed produced a huge chorus of boos.
The next Sunderland manager contenders
The next Sunderland manager contenders
1/7 Dick Advocaat (6/5)
The well-travelled Dutchman is available after leaving his post as Serbia manager last year and would provide an experienced head after the relative novices of Di Canio and Poyet. The 67-year-old's glory days came in the 90s as he won titles in Holland and Scotland but he led Zenit St Petersburg to the UEFA Cup in 2008. He has twice managed his country as well as South Korea and the Serbs and would bring some gravitas to the position.
2/7 Sam Allardyce (8/1)
Another former Sunderland player, although only for a single season, Allardyce is yet to be offered a new deal at West Ham and will be out of contract in the summer. The 60-year-old has never really managed to win over the Hammers faithful despite leading them to promotion and respectability in the Premier League and a move away from east London may appeal. But it is doubtful West Ham would allow him to leave before the end of the season and there is also the small matter of an eight-month spell in charge of Newcastle.
3/7 Michael Laudrup (10/1)
The Dane enjoyed a largely successful spell at Swansea, guiding them to the League Cup in 2013, after earning many plaudits in his home country and Spain. The former Barcelona and Real Madrid midfielder left south Wales under a cloud in February of 2014 and is currently managing Qatari outfit Lekhwiya. He was recently linked with the QPR job but dismissed those reports and his free-flowing style of football would likely prove popular with Black Cats' supporters.
4/7 Steve McClaren (10/1)
Currently head coach at Derby. The former England manager also had a successful spell at Middlesbrough, when he guided them to the Uefa Cup final in 2006.
5/7 Glenn Hoddle (25/1)
Has not managed since leaving Wolves in 2006 but is still well respected in coaching circles and always seems to be in the frame when jobs become available. The 57-year-old former England boss was appointed as a coach at QPR in August but left after Harry Redknapp's departure in February and is currently working as a pundit. Hoddle has enjoyed some success in the Premier League with Chelsea, Tottenham and Southampton but it is unclear whether a relegation battle would appeal.
6/7 Harry Redknapp (25/1)
Resigned as QPR manger in February saying that he could not give '100%' with a knee operation imminent.
7/7 Kevin Ball
Ball could take caretaker charge but his prospects of landing the job permanently look slim after he was moved away from his development job and into an ambassadorial role by the club's hierarchy. A popular figure with the fans after a distinguished nine-year playing spell on Wearside, he has acted as caretaker twice before after the sackings of Mick McCarthy and Paolo Di Canio.
Poyet needed a police chaperone in the second-half.
Sunderland later released a statement on their club website that read: "Sunderland AFC have parted company with head coach Gus Poyet this afternoon.
"The club would like to place on record its’ thanks to Gus and wishes him well for the future.
"Chairman Ellis Short said: 'I would like to thank Gus for his endeavours during his time at the club, in particular last season’s ‘great escape’ and cup final appearance, which will live long in the memory of every Sunderland fan.
'Sadly, we have not made the progress that any of us had hoped for this season and we find ourselves battling, once again, at the wrong end of the table. We have therefore made the difficult decision that a change is needed.'
"An announcement will be made in due course regarding the head coach position."
Former Netherlands manager Dick Advocaat is the favourite to take charge, ahead of West Ham boss Sam Allardyce, former Swansea manager Michael Laudrup and Derby County manager Steve McClaren.
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