Reading have announced the departure of manager Jaap Stam after the club’s slide down the Sky Bet Championship table.
The former Manchester United and Holland defender spent just short of two years in the role and was a penalty shoot-out away from leading the Royals to the Premier League last May, but the 45-year-old has paid the price for poor results this season.
The Royals have won only one of their last 18 league games and lie three points above the relegation zone with eight games to play.
“Reading Football Club announce that Jaap Stam has left his position as manager of the club with immediate effect,” read a statement on the club’s official website.
“Majority shareholders, Mr Yongge Dai and Ms Xiu Li Dai, had wanted to give Jaap every opportunity to turn around what has been a difficult and challenging Championship campaign.
“Jaap has not wavered in the time, effort and sheer determination he has put in to try to steer the team away from the position we find ourselves in. However, after careful consideration, the decision has been made that a change is now necessary.
“We would like to thank Jaap for his hard work and commitment to the club, in particular noting what he achieved in a memorable first season in club management, and we wish him the very best of luck in his future endeavours.”
Former Ajax assistant boss Stam, who made 67 appearances for Holland as a player, became Reading’s first overseas manager when he replaced the sacked Brian McDermott in June 2016.
Stam led the Royals to the Championship play-off final in his first season, but since their defeat on penalties to Huddersfield at Wembley the club has struggled to replicate that form.
Saturday’s home defeat to Norwich saw their winless league run extended to nine matches and they sit 20th in the table.
Stam signed a two-year contract when he first arrived at the Madejski Stadium and that was extended by another 12 months in July last year after he guided them to the brink of the Premier League.
“We will now focus on identifying and recruiting the right person to take Reading Football Club forward,” the club added.
“The club will make no additional comment at this time but will provide further updates as soon as possible.”