The Aston Villa manager, Remi Garde, has left the club by mutual consent.
The Frenchman was only appointed in November on a three-and-a-half-year deal, but has been unable to prevent their slide towards relegation.
Villa sit bottom of the Premier League, 12 points from safety with seven games remaining.
Villa said in a statement late last night: “The club would like to place on record its sincere thanks to Rémi for all his efforts during a difficult period and wish him well in the future.”
The Frenchman’s No 2, Eric Black, will take over as acting manager until Garde’s replacement is appointed.
Nigel Pearson and Steve Bruce have both been linked with the job in recent weeks to replace the 49-year-old, who oversaw just two wins in 20 Premier League matches, though Bruce’s Birmingham City connections make him a less likely candidate.
Garde had looked like a dead man walking for several weeks and is understood to have been keen to step down, with the only delay to his departure relating to an agreement on his pay-off.
Villa’s new chairman, Steve Hollis, has been busily restructuring the club since his arrival in January and in the past two weeks both Hendrik Almstadt, the sporting director, and chief executive, Tom Fox, have departed.
Hollis has already assembled a new-look board, including the former Football Association chairman David Bernstein and ex-Bank of England governor Mervyn King, and featuring the know-how of Brian Little, the former Villa player and manager, in an advisory capacity.
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