LONDON, May 24- West Ham have parted company with manager Sam Allardyce after confirming his contract would not be renewed just minutes after the end of the Premier League club’s season.
Allardyce’s departure was widely expected after months of speculation that the east London team’s owners were looking for a new boss.
The 60-year-old took over at Upton Park in 2011, but was always unpopular with Hammers supporters due to his long-ball tactics.
Earlier this season it seemed Allardyce had turned the tide and would keep his job after leading West Ham into the top six, but that excellent start tailed off dramatically as they limped to a 12th place finish following Sunday’s 2-0 defeat at Newcastle.
It was only moments after the final whistle at St James’ Park that joint owners David Gold and David Sullivan announced Allardyce’s contract, which was due to expire in the close-season, would not be renewed.
“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 in a statement.
“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.”
Allardyce clearly expected his dismissal and had said on Friday he would be jetting off to Spain on a holiday with his grandchildren on Monday rather than waiting around to learn his fate.
Former West Ham defender Slaven Bilic, who is due to leave his role as manager of Turkish club Besiktas at the end of the season, is the bookmakers’ favourite to replace Allardyce.
Real Sociedad boss David Moyes has been linked with the Hammers a year after his sacking by Manchester United, with Derby manager Steve McClaren and Southampton’s Ronald Koeman said to be among the other leading candidates.