Glenn Ferguson has been sacked as manager of Ballymena United.
The Irish League scoring legend’s contract was terminated by the Warden Street club after four years in the dug-out, completing 200 games in charge of the Sky Blues.
The move comes despite the Braidmen lifting the Co Antrim Shield in January – the second time Ferguson won the trophy in his tenure – but with the club spiralling down the Danske Bank Premiership table, the club has wielded the axe.
Saturday’s defeat at home to Dungannon Swifts was their fifth on the trot and ironically Ferguson was not present at the game due to illness, with rumours circulating afterwards that the former Linfield striker had been fired.
Chairman John Taggart said then that Ferguson remained manager but in the subsequent 48 hours senior club officials had been meeting to discuss the next step.
Vice-chairman Don Stirling explained: “Ballymena United took the difficult step in terminating Glenn Ferguson’s contract last night as it was felt recent results and performances were unacceptable.
“While we appreciate his efforts, including guiding the club to the Co. Antrim Shield, it was felt that the recent slide into the relegation zone of the league table was a worrying development and at this stage the club feels that a change of manager could help arrest that.
“We would like to put on record our thanks to Glenn for his efforts in his four years at the club and wish him well in his future career.”
Ferguson succeeded Roy Walker as manager in January 2012 and while the Sky Blues performed well in knock-out competitions, notably winning the Shield twice and losing the Irish Cup Final to Glenavon in 2014, inconsistency in the league and failure to break into the top six has proved his downfall.
It is expected that his backroom staff of fellow former Bluemen Lee Doherty and Norman Kelly will also leave, with the club confirming that an advertisement for a new manager will be placed in the press this week.
United have no game this weekend having already exited the Irish Cup, with the next clash for any new boss a visit to Crusaders on Saturday week.
Former Linfield manager David Jeffrey is likely to be a front-runner for the job where the first task will be to ensure the club remains in the top flight.