Burnley have sacked manager Sean Dyche in a surprise announcement, the club confirmed on Friday.
The club are 18th in the Premier League table and four points adrift from safety with eight matches remaining. But the decision was unexpected, given Dyche’s track record of maintaining Burnley’s status in the top flight on a relatively modest budget.
“Firstly, we would like to place on record our sincere thanks to Sean and his staff for their achievements at the club over the last decade,” club chairman Alan Pace said in a statement.
“During his time at Turf Moor, Sean has been a credit both on and off the pitch, respected by players, staff, supporters, and the wider football community.
“However, results this season have been disappointing and, while this was an incredibly difficult decision, with eight crucial games of the campaign remaining, we feel a change is needed to give the squad the best possible chance of retaining its Premier League status.
“Under-23s coach Mike Jackson, assisted by Academy Director Paul Jenkins, Under-23s goalkeeping coach Connor King and club captain Ben Mee have been asked to take charge of the team for Sunday’s game with West Ham United.
“The process of replacing Sean has begun and further announcements will be made to supporters in due course.”
He was the longest-serving English top flight manager, having been in charge for 9½ years.
During Dyche’s tenure at the club, Burnley were promoted twice from the Championship, achieved two top-half Premier League finishes and qualified for Europe for the first time in 51 years.
While other clubs in the relegation battle regularly splash the cash in order to secure their survival — Everton, one place above Burnley — have spent more than £200 million in the past three seasons — Dyche has never had such a luxury.
With Dyche’s side struggling for goals this term, Burnley allowed striker Chris Wood, a key figure in preserving the club’s Premier League status over the past few seasons, to join relegation rivals Newcastle United in January.
Poor early-season form left Burnley staring at the prospect of their six-year Premier League stay coming to an end.
Yet back-to-back victories in mid-February, plus their crucial win over fellow strugglers Everton two weeks ago seemed to give them a fighting chance.
Defeat at bottom side Norwich City last weekend, however, proved to be the final straw, and now the club must look for someone to inspire them in the final eight games this term.
Information from Reuters was included in this report.