NEWCASTLE, ENGLAND – Steve McClaren was fired as Newcastle manager on Friday after just nine months in charge, with the club struggling to retain its Premier League status following nine defeats in its last 12 matches.
Newcastle is in 19th place in the 20-club league, and its tally of 24 points from 28 games is its lowest ever at this stage of the season in the Premier League era.
“We feel that a change is now needed in order to give the club the best possible chance of securing its Premier League future,” managing director Lee Charnley said in a statement. “A further announcement on a successor to Steve will be made in due course.”
Former Real Madrid coach Rafa Benitez is considered the favorite to replace McClaren at Newcastle, as it looks to avoid its second relegation from the Premier League in seven years.
McClaren was fired as England manager in 2007 after failing to qualify the country for the 2008 European Championship. He bounced back by winning the Dutch title with FC Twente in his next job, but has been dismissed by German club Wolfsburg and then by English clubs Nottingham Forest, Derby and Newcastle after disappointing spells.
McClaren was hired by Newcastle on a three-year deal during the last offseason and also given a place on the club’s board.
Newcastle spent a reported £80 million ($115 million) over the last two transfer windows — no other European club spent more — but the signings have had little effect, with the team spending more days in the bottom three this season than in any other previous Premier League campaign.
McClaren’s last match in charge was the 3-1 home loss to Bournemouth on Saturday.