Sunderland have sacked their manager Jack Ross, while a proposed takeover of the club has collapsed.
Ross leaves following Saturday's 2-0 defeat away to Lincoln City that leaves the Black Cats 6th in League One.
The 43-year old was only appointed Sunderland boss in May of 2018, signing a two-year contract, and dragged the club from their financially-induced freefall to the League One playoff final where they were beaten by Charlton Atheltic.
In a brief statement, Sunderland chairman Stewart Donald says the decision to relieve Ross of his duties was not taken lightly, "This is a decision that has been made with a heavy heart.
When we arrived at the club 18 months ago, we appointed Jack because we felt that he was the right man to take Sunderland forward over a number of years.
— Sunderland AFC (@SunderlandAFC) October 8, 2019
"Jack has worked extremely hard, and has helped us achieve stability at the club, and I sincerely thank him for his efforts.
"I hope and believe that he will go on to have a successful career in management."
Assistant manager James Fowler has been placed in temporary charge of the first team, starting with tonight's leasing.com Trophy tie with Grimsby Town.
News of Ross' sacking came minutes after MSD Partners pulled the plug on a deal to buy Sunderland.
It's claimed that the group led by Glenn Fuhrman, John Phelan and Robert Platek and financially propped-up by Michael Dell - owner of Dell Computers - completed due diligence after a month of negotiating and then decided against a takeover.
Reports suggest MSD Partners believed the club itself was overvalued and doubted the number and value of academy assets.
Chairman Donald responded to queries from chagrined Sunderland supporters on Twitter, angered by the latest collapse of a deal that could potentially aid the club rise up the divisions again.
Donald told one tweeter, "I can't comment much it is still ongoing - so that tells you that we are still hopeful of investment. What I can confirm is that I have NEVER moved the valuation and there will be no way if a deal doesn't happen it will be because of the price. I am working hard to get investment".
He also added they "haven't even valued the lads in the academy in any conversations".