Alan Curbishley has resigned as West Ham United manager, the English Premier League club have confirmed.
Curbishley's decision to quit was triggered by the departures of Anton Ferdinand and George McCartney to Sunderland just before the transfer deadline. He had wanted to keep both defenders but West Ham owner Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson and his board allowed the sales to go through. Curbishley responded by handing in his resignation on Wednesday.
In a statement released via the League Managers' Association (LMA), he insisted his position was made untenable by the breach of trust. "I started my West Ham United career when I left school in 1974 and have remained a lifelong fan," he said. "I have been incredibly proud to manage such a great club and my decision to resign has been very tough.
"The selection of players is critical to the job of the manager and I had an agreement with the club that I alone would determine the composition of the squad. However, the club continued to make significant player decisions without involving me. In the end such a breach of trust and confidence meant that I had no option but to leave. Nevertheless, I wish the club and the players every success in the future."
The LMA went on to claim that "the club's unilateral actions around player transfers, without reference to their manager which have created irreparable damage to Alan's working relationship with the directors."
A club statement confirmed Curbishley's resignation, saying: ". We wish Alan all the success in the future. A shortlist of candidates is being drawn up and an announcement will be made in due course about the new West Ham United manager."
Despite being under heavy pressure from fans unhappy with the club's mediocre performances last season, Curbishley, who took charge at Upton Park in December 2006, led West Ham to two wins from their first three matches, including a 4-1 success against Blackburn on Saturday. However, his lack of control over transfers appears to have proved the final straw.
Curbishley had initially been allowed to go on a lavish spending spree when he took charge at the east London club. However, West Ham's Icelandic owners had hired Italian technical director Gianluca Nani to oversee the club's transfers in March.
Since then, a host of first teamers including Ferdinand, McCartney, Freddie Ljungberg, Nolberto Solano and Bobby Zamora have all left, while Swiss international Valon Behrami was the only high-profile arrival as the Hammers tried to slash their wage bill. Just hours before Curbishley's departure was announced, the Hammers board had released a statement justifying their position with regards to their transfer policy.
"As stated before and during the close season, our intention was always to hone the size of the playing staff with several key performers returning to fitness and the emergence of homegrown talent," the statement read. "Along with the importance of adding quality new signings with bright futures, a key aim has been to secure important players on long-term contracts.
"However, in particular, the transfers of Anton Ferdinand and George McCartney along with the release of Freddie Ljungberg were right for the club and decisions had to be taken based on our best long-term interests. In the past week, agreement could not be reached with Ferdinand on a new contract to replace his original deal that had just two years left to run while McCartney handed in a formal written transfer request after failing to resolve his personal reasons for wanting a move away."
Gudmundsson added: "In my first full season as chairman I can assure supporters we are working hard to bring sustained success to West Ham United. We have a long-term strategy that takes into account all aspects of West Ham United's past, present and future and we will not be deterred."
Croatia coach Slaven Bilic, a former West Ham player, is the early favourite to replace Curbishley.