Newcastle United have sacked manager Chris Hughton, the Premier League club announced on their website today.
The north-east side made the announcement a day after Newcastle's 3-1 defeat by West Bromwich Albion, a result that left United 11th in the table. However, they are only four points above the relegation zone and have not won in their last five games.
"Newcastle United Football Club have today [Monday] parted company with manager Chris Hughton," the statement said. "Goalkeeping coach Paul Barron also leaves the club today.
"The board would also like to place on record their thanks to Chris for his considerable efforts during the club's transition from Championship to Premier League football."
Hughton, 51, led Newcastle to promotion from the second-tier Championship last season and was in his first full-time role as a head coach.
Newcastle thanked former assistant manager Hughton for his efforts but the Magpies' statement added: "Regrettably, the board now feels an individual with more managerial experience is needed to take the club forward. The task of appointing a new manager now begins. An announcement will be made shortly regarding transitional arrangements pending the appointment of a successor."
Hughton kept his players in the dressing room for more than an hour after their defeat at the Hawthorns yesterday but his post-match comments did not appear to be the remarks of a man about to be sacked.
"Some of it is about getting answers, some of it is about venting your anger," he said. "But these are the normal things that will go on after a game, particularly when the result has been as disappointing as today," added Hughton, who has been without an assistant since Colin Calderwood joined Hibernian in October. "Our season has very much been highs and lows. We've picked up some disappointing results and we've had some tremendous results."
In October, Newcastle said Hughton's position was safe after a 4-0 League Cup loss at home to Arsenal led to speculation about his future. "Chris is our manager and will remain our manager, and it is our intention to re-negotiate his contract at the end of the year," Newcastle said at the time.
Hughton responded by saying: "I have been at this club now for two-and-a-half years and I have got to know everybody very well. I have very much enjoyed my time here and I am very, very happy here and would like to stay here for as long as possible."