Aston Villa sack manager Tim Sherwood

Tim Sherwood has been fired as Aston Villa manager after his side’s appalling start to the 2015-16 season, according to widespread reports.

Sherwood took over Villa in February, and had a solid start as he kept them up and guided them to the FA Cup final.

But with just one win to their names in the league so far this season, and that coming on the opening day of the campaign, Sherwood has now been fired.

The club confirmed the news directly after sources including the BBC reported the sacking.

“The Board has monitored the performances closely all season and believes the results on the pitch were simply not good enough and that a change is imperative,” the statement read.

“However, the Club would like to place on record its sincere thanks to Tim for all his efforts during a difficult period last season and for the many positive contributions he has made to the entire football setup during his time with the Club. We wish him well in the future.”

Villa confirmed that assistant manager Ray Wilkins, first-team coach Mark Robson and performance analyst Seamus Brady have also been fired. Kevin MacDonald will take over as caretaker while a long-term replacement is found.

On Sunday morning bookies suspended betting on Sherwood being the next Premier League manager to leave his job after a flurry of bets despite odds that already seemed prohibitively short.

And the news broke just before midday that Sherwood’s reign is over.

The 46-year-old’s spell at Villa Park did not get off to a good start, the club losing his first two matches in charge.

But he guided them to safety and a first FA Cup final in 15 years with a win from behind in the semi-final against Liverpool.

That final ended up in a 4-0 drubbing by Arsenal, however, and while Villa appeared to have recovered from that shock with their win over Bournemouth on the first day of the season, they have since struggled to impress.

The only matches won by Sherwood’s Villa since that opening day of the season have been League Cup clashes against Notts County and Birmingham City.

Saturday’s 2-1 home defeat against Swansea was their sixth league defeat in a row, leaving them 19th in the table.

The former Tottenham manager clearly realised that the writing was on the wall, even joking after the match that he would keep his phone turned off overnight so as to avoid being given the bad news.