Aston Villa have sacked Roberto di Matteo as manager after just 124 days in the job.
Villa are now looking for their fifth boss inside a year after deciding to replace the Italian, who won just one of 11 Championship games in charge.
Former Chelsea player and manager Di Matteo, 46, was appointed shortly after Chinese businessman Dr Tony Xia took over Villa on 2 June.
Di Matteo’s assistant Steve Clarke will take over as caretaker manager.
A club statement confirming the exit of former West Bromwich Albion boss Di Matteo said: “The club decided to act following a run of disappointing results which has the left the team occupying 19th position.
“The club would like to place on record its appreciation to Roberto for all his efforts in helping rebuild the squad.”
Former Birmingham City boss Steve Bruce, who still lives in the Midlands, and ex-Wolves manager Mick McCarthy are among the early favourites to replace him.
Ex-Walsall manager Dean Smith, now in charge at Brentford, has already dismissed speculation about taking charge of the club he supported as a boy.
Villa were booed off by their fans after Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at Preston – Di Matteo’s final game in charge.
Former Villa striker Garry Thompson, who was the radio match summariser at Deepdale, told BBC WM: “Once you lose the support of the travelling fans and they turn on you, you’re in trouble.”
Di Matteo, whose major success as a manager was winning the Champions League with Chelsea in 2012, also enjoyed success at Championship level when he won promotion with Albion in 2010.
He is succeeded in the short term by his Villa assistant manager Clarke, his former Chelsea team-mate, who also spent a year and a half in charge at West Brom.
Villa under Di Matteo
Since Tim Sherwood left on 25 October 2015, Villa have also had Remi Garde and caretaker boss Eric Black, for the final seven games of last season, in charge prior to Di Matteo’s appointment in June.
Following his arrival, Villa signed nine players for a combined outlay of about £50m, while 17 players left, worth in the region of £16m between them.
But, since beating Rotherham United at home 3-0 on 13 August, his only win, Villa went nine games without a victory.
In five of Di Matteo’s 11 league games at the helm, Villa conceded a goal after 85 minutes.
Villa’s run of managers
Since Martin O’Neill quit on the eve of the season in August 2010, Villa have had six different ‘permanent’ managers and four caretaker bosses, with Gary McAllister taking charge for a spell in 2011 while Gerard Houllier was absent because of ill health:
- Kevin MacDonald (caretaker): 9 Aug-21 Sep 2010
- Gerard Houllier/Gary McAllister: 21 Sep 2010-1 Jun 2011
- Alex McLeish: 17 Jun 2011-15 May 2012
- Paul Lambert: 2 Jun 2012-11 Feb 2015
- Scott Marshall/Andy Marshall (caretaker): 11-17 Feb 2015
- Tim Sherwood: 17 Feb-25 Oct 2015
- Kevin MacDonald (caretaker): 25 Oct-3 Nov 2015
- Remi Garde: 3 Nov 2015-30 March 2016
- Eric Black (caretaker): 30 Mar 2016-2 Jun 2016
- Roberto di Matteo: 2 Jun-3 Oct 2016
The last 19 months since Lambert’s exit have proved particularly severe:
Marshall/Marshall: 7 days, P1 W1
Sherwood: 250 days, P28 W10 D2 L16
MacDonald: 9 days, P2 L2
Garde: 148 days, P23, W3, D7, L13
Black: 65 days, P7 W0, D1 L6
Di Matteo: 124 days, P12, W1, D7, L4