Sam Allardyce's contract as West Ham manager will not be renewed and he will leave the club with immediate effect, before taking an extended break from the game.
The 60-year-old's future in east London has been the subject of speculation for much of the season, but the club finally confirmed his exit within minutes of their final Premier League match of the season at Newcastle ending, while the manager revealed it was his choice not to sign a contract extension.
A tweet from the club's official Twitter account read: "The club have begun the search for a new manager after deciding not to renew Sam Allardyce's contract."
STATEMENT: The Club have begun the search for a new manager after deciding not to renew Sam Allardyce's contract http://t.co/wHlHhyMLZE
- West Ham United FC (@whufc_official) May 24, 2015
Allardyce took over at Upton Park in 2011 and the Hammers made an excellent start to the current campaign, but tailed off dramatically to finish in 12th. The club said that joint owners David Gold and David Sullivan would now lead the process to recruit Allardyce's successor.
"We would like to start by thanking Sam Allardyce for his valuable work since arriving at the Boleyn Ground four years ago," Gold and Sullivan said. "He leaves the club in a considerably better state then when he arrived and, for that, the board are truly grateful.
"However, we have made the decision not to renew his contract, so we now have the chance to appoint a new manager with a new philosophy to lead us into two of the most exciting years in our great club's history.
"Our target is to recruit a manager that will build a team capable of saying a fitting farewell to the Boleyn Ground next year and do justice to the outstanding surrounds we will call home from August 2016 [when the club move to the Olympic Stadium in east London].
"We have already been impressed with the quality of candidates that have expressed an interest in the role and fully expect to appoint a manager with the credentials to take this club on to new heights."
Allardyce had said on Friday that his agent Mark Curtis would be meeting with club representatives on Monday to discuss the future, with the manager himself jetting off on holiday.
''It will be all sorted Monday, one way or the other. I'm not personally having a meeting but my agent will be available to speak to the owners,'' Allardyce had said. ''Because the season is finishing so late, the only opportunity I have to go away with my grandchildren is half-term. So I'll be shooting off to Spain to see them and whatever will be, will be.''
Asked if he planned to be back in work by August, he said: "No, I'm looking for a break well beyond that. Recharging your batteries -- if and when you come back if you have recharged your batteries, you are much better prepared to carry on doing the job at this level of football.
"It depends whether it's a year or whether it falls around Christmas time, or whoever might fall into trouble, whatever job you fancy doing.
"It's not just a job I'm after, it's he right job if it comes along. I certainly won't be doing that in the next few weeks. You can never say never, but I can't see myself in charge of another football club for the start of next season.''
Allardyce also confirmed it was he who had decided not to sign a contract extension.
"I didn't want to stay, no. I suppose you could say it's mutual if they didn't want to give me one anyway, so that's a bit of tit-for-tat, isn't it?" he added. "But it's done, it's dusted now, it's settled and we both move on. West Ham have a big job appointing a new manager and moving forward now -- I have the job of seeing the family for a change, because it's a massive commitment.
"As a manager, you just ignore your family 24/7 when you do this job, and it's time for me to give the family a little bit of time and me to enjoy that time and see what comes in a few months' time.
"I thought it was time to leave, I thought it was the right time to leave. For me, four years is a long enough spell. You don't want to overstay your welcome and like I said, you have to commit your whole life to being a Premier League manager.
"You are under scrutiny all the time and you have to be totally obsessed with the job to get it right, and particularly your family, you have to ignore that side.
"They worry for you, they support you. They are down when you're down, they're up when you're up, so it does become a bit of a strain on them, particularly your wife, so it's time to have that break.
"It's leaving on a high for me -- not a high today the way we performed in the second half -- but leaving on a high, and walking away from a football club that has achieved so much in the last four seasons is something I am very proud of.''
Former West Ham defender Slaven Bilic and ex-Manchester United manager David Moyes are among those linked with succeeding Allardyce at the Hammers.