Walsall have parted company with head coach Brian Dutton after what chairman Leigh Pomlett termed an “unacceptable” 19th-place finish in Sky Bet League Two this season.
Dutton joined the club as assistant in the summer of 2019 before taking the reins in February – after Darrell Clarke left the Saddlers to take charge of Port Vale – although he won just three of 20 games in charge.
As Walsall finished just eight points above the relegation zone, Pomlett reflected that a change at the top was required, even if he insisted it was not an easy conclusion to reach.
“Chairmen often say ‘I made that decision with a heavy heart’,” Pomlett said in a video message to Walsall supporters on the club’s YouTube channel.
“I’m never absolutely convinced that they always mean it but, on this particular occasion, I can assure you I do because Brian stepped up to the plate when he didn’t need to when Darrell left.
“He pretty much achieved a lot of the things that I wanted him to achieve, particularly with the young players coming through, with the way he dealt with the players, with the courage and resilience he showed.
“A lot of the qualities I look for in human beings that are part of this football club, Brian Dutton has got. But Brian knows this as well as anybody that winning football matches is what head coaches have to do.
“Not through lack of effort or application, which has absolutely been there, we finished 19th in League Two, which by any stretch of the imagination is unacceptable.
“I will not sit here as chairman facing the prospect of another 19th-place finish in League Two. It’s not where we should be, it’s not acceptable and therefore we have to move on.
“I met with him, we’ve agreed to part company and we are now searching for a new head coach for Walsall Football Club and I intend to make that appointment as quickly as I possibly can.”