MANCHESTER, United Kingdom - Manchester United sacked manager David Moyes on Tuesday, just 10 months after he succeeded Alex Ferguson at the helm of one of the world's most famous clubs.
After a day of speculation in the British media, the Premier League giants confirmed the Scot's departure in a brief statement on their Twitter account.
"Manchester United announces that David Moyes has left the club," United said. "The club would like to place on record its thanks for the hard work, honesty and integrity he brought to the role."
Rumours of Moyes's imminent departure began to swirl on Monday, with the club refusing to comment when asked if he was facing the sack.
British newspaper reports on Tuesday said that Moyes had been informed of his fate during an early-morning meeting with chief executive Ed Woodward at the club's Carrington training ground.
Current player-coach Ryan Giggs is reportedly set to be announced as interim manager later on Tuesday.
United host Norwich City on Saturday in the first of their four remaining league games this season.
Louis van Gaal, the current Netherlands coach, has been installed as the favourite to succeed Moyes on a permanent basis by British bookmakers, with Jurgen Klopp of Borussia Dortmund another rumoured contender.
Ferguson, British football's most successful manager, personally hand-picked Moyes to succeed him after announcing his retirement last May following 26 and a half trophy-studded years at Old Trafford.
Moyes inherited a team that had romped to the Premier League title - United's 20th English league crown - by 11 points, but he endured a torrid debut campaign.
'Worse and worse'
United have slumped to seventh place in the league table and been eliminated from both domestic cup competitions and the Champions League.
Moyes's last game in charge was a 2-0 loss at his former club Everton, which confirmed that United will not compete in the Champions League next season for the first time since 1995.
The defeat, United's 11th of the league campaign, left the defending champions 13 points below the Champions League places and 23 points behind leaders Liverpool.
They face a struggle even to qualify for the second-tier Europa League, lying six points below sixth-place Tottenham Hotspur with four matches to play.
Of their league defeats, six have come at home, and there have been demoralising home-and-away losses to arch rivals Liverpool and Manchester City, as well as Everton.
Moyes's transfer dealings proved equally disappointing, with £27.5 million (S$58 million) midfielder Marouane Fellaini, signed from Everton, and £37.1 million record signing Juan Mata, who arrived from Chelsea in January, struggling to make an impact.
As a result, United's American owners, the Glazer family, reportedly felt uneasy about the prospect of handing him the funds needed to rebuild the squad during the forthcoming close season.
Former United player Gary Neville, now a television pundit and England coach, said that while he was disappointed by the decision, Moyes's struggles had left the club in a difficult position.
"I think it could have been dealt with a whole lot better," Neville told Sky Sports News.
"I believe in managers being given time. However, there's no disguising that the football this season has been poor and the results have been poor. The performances have got worse and worse."