Chris Hughton has today been sacked as Newcastle manager with the club saying they need someone with “more managerial expertise” to take them forward.
United are 11th in the Premier League and have achieved some notable wins under the guidance of Hughton, who had taken the club back into the top flight at the first attempt.
But the manner of yesterday’s limp defeat to West Brom, after which Hughton berated the players for an hour, looks to have been the final straw.
Newcastle said in a statement: “The board would like to place on record their thanks to Chris for his considerable efforts during the club’s transition from Championship to Premier League football.
“Chris has shown exceptional character and commitment since being appointed manager in October 2009.
“The club wishes him well for the future. Regrettably the board now feels that an individual with more managerial experience is needed to take the club forward.
“The task of appointing a new manager now begins. An announcement will be made shortly regarding transitional arrangements pending the appointment of a successor.”
Peter Beardsley has been put in charge of the team on an interim basis.
The former Newcastle and England striker manages the club’s reserves and will be assisted by Steve Stone.
The sacking comes little more than a month since Newcastle beat bitter rivals Sunderland 5-1 and then won 1-0 at Arsenal.
Hughton was named as the club’s permanent manager in October 2009 after a number of caretaker stints in charge, and the club said in October that they would be looking to renegotiate his deal in the new year after speculation he was about to be sacked.
Hughton had been working without an assistant manager since Colin Calderwood joined Hibernian in October, and is followed out of the door by goalkeeping coach Paul Barron.
Among the favourites to replace Hughton are Martin O’Neill, the three Alans - Curbishley, Pardew and Shearer – and Bolton boss Owen Coyle.
The 51-year-old Hughton arrived at Newcastle in February 2008 following a 20-year association with Tottenham.
He was appointed as coach to Kevin Keegan by director of football Dennis Wise, and then served as caretaker manager when Keegan left and was replaced by Joe Kinnear.
When Kinnear fell ill the following February, Hughton again stepped in, before assisting Shearer and Iain Dowie as Newcastle were relegated.
He was placed in caretaker charge in the summer of 2009, with owner Mike Ashley not willing to appoint a permanent boss while he looked to sell the club.
After taking over on a permanent basis in October 2009 he went on to guided the club to the Championship title, with the prize wrapped up with two games to spare.
So far this season Newcastle have won five of their 16 games so far, with other notable victories including a 6-0 thrashing of Aston Villa.
More recently, a 5-1 humbling at Bolton was followed by yesterday’s loss to Albion.