Aston Villa have sacked manager Steve Bruce after two years in charge.

Villa are 12th in the Championship but have only won one of their past nine league matches and drew 3-3 with bottom club Preston on Tuesday.

The 57-year-old had been under increasing pressure from Villa supporters, with one fan throwing a cabbage at him before Tuesday’s game.

He led the club to the Championship play-off final last season, which they lost to Fulham at Wembley.

Bruce, who leaves Villa exactly two years to the day since his predecessor Roberto di Matteo was sacked, is the first manager to lose his job in England’s second tier this season.

Assistant boss Colin Calderwood and coaches Steve Agnew, Stephen Clemence and Gary Walsh have also left Villa Park, with under-23s manager Kevin MacDonald taking charge of Saturday’s game at Millwall.

“We would like to place on record our gratitude to Steve and his team for their hard work and commitment. We wish them well for the future,” a club statement said.

“The process of recruiting a new manager has begun.”

Turmoil continues at Villa Park

Bruce’s position had been uncertain since a summer during which off-field events shaped Villa’s pre-season preparations, after the club initially missed a £4m tax payment in June.

After failing to secure a return to the top flight in May that would have been worth in excess of £160m, owner Dr Tony Xia was understood to have cash flow problems.

Former England captain John Terry left Villa Park, while chief executive Keith Wyness was suspended and then subsequently exited the club, before director of football Steve Round’s departure in July.

Billionaire businessmen Wes Edens and Nassef Sawiris stepped in with “significant investment” and, following reports that ex-France striker Thierry Henry was being lined up for the managerial position, they gave Bruce their public backing.

Villa was Bruce’s ninth different role since starting his managerial career as player-boss at Sheffield United in July 1998.

Bruce has also been manager at Huddersfield Town, Wigan Athletic (twice), Crystal Palace, Birmingham City, Sunderland and Hull City.

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