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.
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.