Aston Villa and Remi Garde part company as Premier League relegation looms
Remi Garde's dismal spell as manager of Aston Villa has ended after less than five months.
The former Lyon boss won just twice in 20 Barclays Premier League games and left by mutual consent on Tuesday evening.
Garde had been on the brink of leaving for a couple of weeks with Villa on the verge of relegation and 12 points from safety ahead of Saturday's visit of Chelsea.
The 49-year-old also held lengthy talks with new board member David Bernstein earlier this month.
Press Association Sport understands Garde did not leave Villa's training ground until close to 9pm on Tuesday after lawyers thrashed out the terms of his settlement, meaning the announcement came during England's international friendly with Holland.
"Manager Remi Garde has today left Aston Villa Football Club by mutual consent," said a club statement.
"The club would like to place on record its sincere thanks to Remi for all his efforts during a difficult period and wish him well in the future.
"Eric Black will take over as acting manager until the club appoints a new manager.
"There will be no further comment from the club at this stage."
Garde had been left disillusioned by a lack of backing in the transfer market having failed to land any new signings in January. He wanted Loic Remy and Croatian goalkeeper Lovre Kalinic while he lost out on Seydou Doumbia and Wahbi Khazri to relegation rivals Newcastle and Sunderland respectively.
He also struggled to win over some of the current players with his training methods and often refused to defend them in public as their performances and commitment were questioned.
Former Leicester boss Nigel Pearson quickly emerged as an early favourite with bookmakers to be the next Villa manager, with David Moyes, without a club since losing his job at Real Sociedad in November, also in the running.
Garde took over in early November, just over a week after Tim Sherwood was sacked, and inherited a side bottom of the table with just four points from 11 matches.
Under Garde, Villa picked up just 12 points with two victories and six draws, but they could not arrest the habit of losing which brought a further dozen defeats.
Earlier this month, chief executive Tom Fox stepped down with immediate effect citing a change in his role after internal restructuring.
Press Association Sport understands Fox had been discussing his future with the club for a number of weeks and remains available to help new chairman Steve Hollis during his review of the club.
A few hours before Garde's departure, Villa announced former Football Association executive Adrian Bevington had taken on a role at the club, working with new Villa director and ex-FA chairman Bernstein.
"Adrian has a wealth of experience with over 20 years working at the highest level of football," Bernstein said.
"He was the managing director of Club England and worked with many managers and coaches during his 17 years at the FA.
"More recently he has worked with several clubs and the Welsh FA, and I'm convinced his experience, contacts and understanding of football will be a tremendous asset to Aston Villa."
Former FA chairman Bernstein is one of several new faces in the Villa boardroom along with Sir Mervyn King while former Villa boss Brian Little is an advisor.
Republic of Ireland boss Martin O'Neill, meanwhile, laughed off suggestions he could return to his former club following Garde's departure.
The 64-year-old's contract with the Football Association of Ireland expires after the Euro 2016 finals and he is yet to agree an extension.
However, when he was asked about the vacancy following Ireland's 2-2 friendly draw with Slovakia on Tuesday evening, O'Neill - who managed Villa between 2006 and 2010 - said with a smile: "I have a job to do here. I am delighted with the job. How dare you ask me?"
O'Neill's assistant Roy Keane at one point combined his job as the Republic's number two with a similar post under Paul Lambert at Villa, but asked if he could be a candidate, O'Neill said equally light-heartedly: "Well, if he leaves tomorrow, I will be very disappointed."