West Bromwich Albion have sacked Steve Clarke.
Albion lost 1-0 away to newly-promoted Cardiff City on Saturday, prompting a board meeting, with the club having won just seven of thirty-four games in 2013.
West Bromwich Albion have announced that the decision to relieve Clarke of his duties was "the unanimous decision of the Football Club's Board of Directors". He will now be placed on gardening leave with immediate effect.
Clarke's assistant, Kevin Keen, has also been placed on gardening leave following the club's decision to relieve Clarke of his duties.
In the interim, First Team Coach Keith Downing will assume the role of manager, whilst the club seek to appoint a new Head Coach at the Hawthorns.
Sporting & Technical Director Richard Garlick said:
“We have reluctantly come to the decision to relieve Steve of his duties after very careful consideration.
“It has been well documented that we have not had the rub of the green in certain games this season but that does not cloud the generally disappointing points return during this calendar year, culminating in today’s fourth-successive defeat at Cardiff."
“This Club's track record proves we do not take such decisions lightly, having only enforced a change in this position three times in approximately 14 years."
“But with key games coming thick and fast, we felt it was important we acted now to give the Club the best possible chance of a successful outcome this season."
“Our player wage bill is the highest in the Club’s history and we feel we have built a squad capable of being very competitive in the Premier League."
"We now begin the search to find a new Head Coach who will work within our existing structure, which has been in place for the past six years.”
Garlick also thanked both Clarke and Keen for their contributions, and wished them the best in the future.
Having worked as an assistant to Ruud Gullit, Jose Mourinho and Kenny Dalglish, Clarke took his first post in management at West Bromwich Albion in June 2012, replacing the outgoing Roy Hodgson.
An impressive start to the season saw the Baggies soar as high as fourth, before finishing the season in eighth with a haul of 47 points, the club's best ever Premier League finish.
A poor start to the 2013/14 season saw the pressure heaped onto Clarke, who was adjudged to be underachieving, despite losing the services of loan striker Romelu Lukaku, who returned to his parent club before joining Everton on deadline day.
Following four consecutive defeats from late November leading into mid-December, the club took the decision to part company with Clarke.
The club have said that they will make no further comment on the situation.
image: © hisgett