Newcastle United FC have dismissed manager Sir Bobby Robson just four matches into the Premiership season.
Robson leaves St James' Park after five years at his hometown club, where he replaced Ruud Gullit in the opening weeks of the 1999/2000 campaign. Newcastle have taken just two points from their opening four games and were beaten 4-2 at Aston Villa FC on Saturday.
A statement from the club said: "After a disappointing start to the Premiership season the directors of Newcastle United have informed Sir Bobby Robson that they have decided he is to be replaced as team manager." Robson becomes the second managerial casualty of the Premiership campaign, after Southampton FC dismissed Paul Sturrock.
The 71-year-old went into the season knowing this would be his last at Newcastle, following the club's decision to give him a one-year contract extension until next summer. However, the former England coach has faced player unrest in recent weeks and his position was weakened by Newcastle's disappointing results so far.
UEFA Cup return
Robson guided Newcastle to the UEFA Cup semi-finals last term and, after finishing sixth in the Premiership, they are back in the competition this year, where they will face Israeli side Hapoel Bnei Sakhnin FC in the first round.
Robson has enjoyed a long and successful coaching career, in the course of which he has won league titles in Portugal and the Netherlands, and European trophies with Ipswich Town FC (the 1981 UEFA Cup) and FC Barcelona (the 1997 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup). In 1990 he led England to the semi-finals of the FIFA World Cup in Italy.