Everton have confirmed the departure of Frank Lampard as manager.
The 44-year-old was sacked after less than a year at Goodison Park and the club are embroiled in a relegation battle for a second successive season.
The news of Lampard’s fate had been widely commented on since Monday afternoon, but the club did not officially announce it until after 8pm.
The statement read: “Everton Football Club can confirm that Frank Lampard has left his position as senior first team manager today.
“Everyone at Everton would like to thank Frank and his coaching staff for their service during these 12 challenging months.”
Lampard leaves Goodison Park with the club in 19th place in the Premier League after a run of nine defeats in 12 matches. He has won just nine and lost 21 of his 38 Premier League matches and his sacking comes eight days short of the first anniversary of his appointment.
The statement added: “The commitment and dedication of Frank and his team have been exemplary throughout his time at the club, but recent results and current position in the league meant that this difficult decision had to be made. We wish Frank and the entire backroom team good luck in the future in the game.
“The club has started the process of signing a new manager and will provide an update on the appointment in due course.”
Backroom staff members Joe Edwards, Paul Clement, Ashley Cole and Chris Jones have also left, but Alan Kelly will remain as goalkeeping coach.
Paul Tait and Leighton Baines will oversee the training pending the appointment of a new manager.
Everton have brought in former Chelsea and Derby boss Lampard to replace Rafael Benitez, who was only in the position for 200 days. His departure means the Toffees are now looking for an eighth permanent manager since owner Farhad Moshiri took over the club in February 2016.
Moshiri did not offer public support for Lampard until January 13, but extremely devastating defeats by fellow contenders Southampton and West Ham forced a change.
Everton have scored just 15 goals in 20 Premier League games this season and only twice this season have they managed to score more than once in a game.
With the first relegation since 1951 looming, Lampard’s departure adds to the current turmoil around the club.
In recent weeks there has been widespread unrest among supporters and numerous demonstrations against the club’s management. Board members did not attend the final game against Southampton for security reasons.
The club’s delay in confirming Lampard’s removal, which has already been widely commented on for several hours, has likely only added to fans’ frustration.
However, while fans largely backed Lampard, former Everton striker Kevin Campbell believed the club had no choice but to make the switch.
He told Sky Sports News: “It has become inevitable. It didn’t go as planned and the club pulled the trigger.
“I supported Frank Lampard but ultimately it’s about results and I think the club had to make a move.
“The club is a bit toxic at the moment so they need to do something to address the slide.”
The club must now act quickly to find a replacement for Lampard with eight days remaining in the transfer window as events mirror those of 12 months ago.
Then Lampard was not hired until the deadline – more than two weeks after Benitez left – followed through the door by last-minute arrivals of Dele Alli and Donny Van de Beek, on loan from Manchester United.
A loan deal for Villarreal winger Arnaut Danjuma has been agreed and is likely to be announced in the next 24 hours but further reinforcements are needed to help the club move further from safety.
Former Burnley manager Sean Dyche, who was sacked last April after a decade with the Clarets because he failed to keep them in the Premier League, is the bookmakers’ favorite to replace Lampard.
The chances of former Everton striker Duncan Ferguson, who left the club’s coaching staff in the summer to seek managerial opportunities but has yet to find a job, have dwindled. He has already held the Toffees’ caretaker role on two previous short-lived occasions following the departures of Marco Silva in 2019 and Benitez last year.
Another former Toffees favorite, Wayne Rooney, now in charge of Major League Soccer team DC United, has also been announced as the successor, as has former Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa.
Former Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl, who was considered before Lampard got the job last year but was still employed by Saints, is another option, as is Nuno Espirito Santo.
Everton football director Kevin Thelwell previously worked under Nuno at Wolves but the Portuguese is now in charge of Saudi Arabia side Al-Ittihad and has a reported £8m buyout clause.