Newcastle United have announced that manager Steve McClaren has left the struggling Premier League club.
The club have already lined up former Real Madrid and Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez as his replacement, with sources telling ESPN FC that the Spaniard is set to be offered a three-year deal.
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) March 11, 2016
McClaren was appointed last summer, signing a three-year contract at St James’ Park after leaving Derby County in May, but he has endured a difficult time, with the side 19th in the Premier League table after Saturday’s 3-1 loss at home to Bournemouth.
Three members of the club’s board — managing director Lee Charnley, chief scout Graham Carr and club ambassador Bob Moncur — reportedly met on Monday without McClaren, with Charnley discussing the team’s situation with the manager by telephone later in the day.
The former England boss continued to take training this week before eventually being dismissed on Friday, but Newcastle defended the delay in an official statement.
“After the defeat to Bournemouth on Saturday, the club has spent some time considering its position and has today concluded that Steve McClaren’s employment with the club will end with immediate effect,” the statement read.
“We acknowledge that reaching this decision has taken a number of days and that this has caused uncertainty for everyone involved, in particular for Steve and the players, for which we apologise.
“However, we felt that this time was necessary to ensure the right decisions were reached with the best interests of the club at heart.”
Charnley added: “I would like to thank Steve personally for his services to Newcastle United. He is a man of integrity and class and he has conducted himself with great dignity during this difficult time.
“Steve worked tirelessly to try and bring success to Newcastle United. He has the utmost respect of all the players, staff and management and he leaves with our very best wishes and sincere thanks.
“We feel that a change is now needed in order to give the club the best possible chance of securing its Premier League future.
“A further announcement on a successor to Steve will be made in due course.”