In order to meet their high targets for the upcoming League One season, Southampton have decided to sack Alan Pardew as manager.
Rumours were strong that Pardew had a strained relationship with executive chairman Nicola Cortese, while reports suggested that staff unrest was present on the training ground.
This has led to Pardew, first-team coach Wally Downes and goalkeeping coach Stuart Murdoch to be dismissed with immediate effect.
Pardew’s last game in charge was a 4-0 victory over Bristol Rovers and despite him leaving they remain 5/2 favourites to win League One.
A club statement said: “Following a review of the status in and around the first team, the club has decided that, to achieve its well-known targets, it is essential to make changes to the first-team management and coaching.
“These targets for sustained and significant progress embrace both the first team and the football development and support centre as integrated, co-operative units.”
Assistant manager Dean Wilkins will take over as caretaker boss until a permanent replacement for Pardew is appointed.
A poll in a local newspaper discovered that only 13 per cent of Southampton fans agree with the decision to sack Pardew, who had made decent progress in rebuilding the club’s fortunes since dropping to League One.
He won the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy at Wembley last season and finished one place outside of the play-offs in seventh in the league after the club were handed a ten-point deduction for falling into administration.
Wilkins will be responsible for picking a team for the first round of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy this year as they have been drawn against Swindon at home.
Southampton are 8/13 to triumph, with Rickie Lambert 11/4 to open the scoring.
Sheffield Wednesday currently top the League One table and are 7/2 to still be there at the end of the season. See the whole League One winners market.