Jose Mourinho sacked by Chelsea
Chelsea have sacked manager Jose Mourinho, as the Stamford Bridge club finally decided to bring an end to the most turbulent few months in their recent history.
Mourinho guided Chelsea to the Premier League title last May, but he has since overseen a disastrous run of results that has seen his side lose nine of their first 16 league matches in charge.
Chelsea informed Mourinho of the decision to sack him at 2pm on Thursday afternoon, even though club officials were briefing the media earlier today that it was "business as usual" at the club's Cobham training ground.
Chairman Bruce Buck and close Abramovich aide Eugene Tenenbaum are believed to have informed Mourinho of the club's decision, which is being described as "mutual consent" according to the club statement.
The meeting between Mourinho and Chelsea's hierarchy is believed to have lasted less than ten minutes, with the end to his time at Chelsea a massive fall from grace for a manager who lifted the Premier League and Capital One Cup trophies earlier this year.
Mourinho was preparing to speak to the media at lunchtime on Friday ahead of the Premier League game against Sunderland on Friday, with the club's press office expecting to send out invites for the media to attend the briefing until the news of the manager's departure was confirmed.
Chelsea Football Club and Jose Mourinho have today parted company by mutual consent. https://t.co/YYJaxxdE36— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) December 17, 2015
Owner Roman Abramovich had the final say in the decision to remove Mourinho, with the cost of paying off a manager who signed a four-year contract in August likely to be as much as £40m.
Mourinho has overseen a catalogue of disasters at Chelsea this season, with his fall-out with the club's medical staff on the opening day of the season followed by woeful results and clashes with his own players, match officials and rival managers.
While Abramovich has shown unusual patience with Mourinho in recent weeks, his patience was snapped after the Chelsea boss accused his players of betraying him following Monday's 2-1 defeat against Leicester.
This was Mourinho's final press conference as Chelsea manager after that defeat:
There are widespread reports that former Tottenham manager Guus Hiddink will be installed as Chelsea manager, reprising a caretaker manager role he successfully took on back in 2009.