Newcastle: Newcastle United have sacked manager Chris Hughton, the English Premier League club announced on their website on Monday.
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.
As recently as October the club said they would be looking to re-negotiate Hughton’s contract in the New Year after speculation he was about to be sacked.
However, Newcastle are now 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.
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 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.”
A second statement issued by the club later Monday said former Newcastle and England striker Peter Beardsley, currently the reserve side’s manager, would be “in charge of team affairs with immediate effect” while the board looked for a permanent replacement.
Beardsley’s first game as caretaker boss will see him up against one of his former clubs when Liverpool arrive at St James’ Park on Saturday.
Hughton, Newcastle’s eighth permanent manager in six years, had enjoyed some excellent results this season, including a 6-0 thrashing of Aston Villa, a 5-1 derby demolition of north-east rivals Sunderland and a 1-0 win at Arsenal.
But recent away results have been disappointing, with a 5-1 defeat at Bolton followed by Sunday’s loss to fellow promoted side West Brom.
Hughton kept his players in the dressing room for more than an hour after their defeat at The Hawthorns on Sunday but his post-match comments to waiting reporters did not hit at his impending departure.
“Some of it is about getting answers, some of it is about venting your anger,” said Hughton.
“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 at the time by saying: “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.”
The former Republic of Ireland international arrived at St James’ Park in February 2008 after a 20-year association as both player and coach with Tottenham Hotspur.
He was appointed assistant coach to Kevin Keegan by director of football Dennis Wise, who has since left Newcastle, and served as caretaker boss when former England manager Keegan exited and was replaced by Joe Kinnear.
When Kinnear fell ill in February the following year, Hughton again took temporary control before assisting former Newcastle striker Alan Shearer and Iain Dowie when United were relegated from the Premier League.
He was placed in caretaker charge again ahead of the 2009-10 season, with owner Mike Ashley unwilling to appoint a new manager as he looked to sell the club.
But Newcastle made such a successful start to life in the Championship that, with Ashley unable to find a buyer, Hughton was offered a permanent deal in October last year.
Newcastle went on to claim the Championship title and this season have won five of their 16 league matches.
Former Southampton manager Alan Pardew was installed as the 7/2 favourite to replace Hughton by British bookmakers William Hill.
First Published: Monday, December 06, 2010, 23:49