West Bromwich Albion have relieved Roberto Di Matteo of his duties and placed him on gardening leave with immediate effect, due to the fact they have lost 13 of their last 18 games in all competitions.
First-team coach Michael Appleton will assume control of first-team affairs whilst the club considers all available options for a new manager and he could take charge for the crucial next Premier League games against West Ham, Wolves and Stoke if nothing is decided by the end of the month.
Chairman Jeremy Peace said in a statement released on the club's official website: "This has been a tough decision but we, as a Board, believe it is the right one to give the Club the best possible chance of remaining in the Premier League. Our poor sequence of results stretches back more than three months and there has been little sign of it coming to an end.
"If this run continues much longer, achieving our goal of retaining our Premier League status will become increasingly difficult. That is why we felt compelled to act now. This Club's track record proves we do not take such decisions lightly, with Roberto being only our fourth Manager or Head Coach in almost 11 years.
"We now begin the search to find a new Head Coach who will fit into our existing set-up and work under our Sporting & Technical Director, Dan Ashworth, with a view to taking the Club forward.
"On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank Roberto for his efforts over the past 19 months, particularly for his contribution towards last season's promotion success and our very promising start to the current campaign. We wish him and his family well for the future.
"Roberto embraced the structure in which we wanted him to work and he has been a good colleague. However, we are in a results-driven industry and felt we had no choice but to act now."
Eddie Newton and Ade Mafe have also left the club with immediate effect and Ashworth highlighted the need to keep the club in the top flight as part of the decision.
"Staying in the Premier League is of paramount importance and we feel that with the right appointment, we can still achieve our goal,'' he said. ''In the meantime, First-Team affairs are in the very capable hands of Michael Appleton.
"He has gained all the coaching badges available, including the UEFA Pro Licence, and knows the Club inside out. Most importantly, he has earned the full respect of the players and everyone else at the Football Club.
"I have worked closely with Roberto since June 2009 and I would like to thank him, Eddie and Ade for all their hard work during this period and wish them well for the future."