Sherwood, Klinsmann, Keane in running for Aston Villa job

Paul Lambert sacked as Villa slide into the relegation places after one goal in eight league games

Former Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert
(Image credit: AFP/Getty Images)

Paul Lambert's reign as Aston Villa manager came to an abrupt end on Wednesday evening when he was sacked after nearly three years in the job. The 45-year-old Scot has seen overseen Villa slide down the table and into the relegation zone in a season in which they have scored just 12 league goals in 25 matches – a Premier League record.

Only one of those goals has come in the last eight matches as Villa suffered a run of five successive league defeats, including a 5-0 thrashing at Arsenal earlier in the month.

Tuesday night's 2-0 defeat to Hull City was the final straw for the board, fans and local press. The Birmingham Mail led the campaign to have Lambert removed, the paper tweeting a picture of its front page saying that 'Lambert Must Go' with the hashtag, #lambertout.

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Describing Lambert's dismissal as a "bombshell", the Mail's football reporter, Gregg Evans, admitted the news "came as a surprise to me. The messages I was getting from the club was that he would be given until the end of the season to keep Villa in the league".

In the end the Mail's campaign, and a growing rebellion among fans, prompted the board to sack Lambert, and Villa then issued a brief statement on their official website: "The club would... like to place on record its thanks to Paul and take this opportunity to wish him every success in the future. The club will announce a new manager in due course.

The statement added that first-team coach Scott Marshall and goalkeeping coach Andy Marshall will prepare the squad for Sunday's FA Cup fifth round tie with Leicester City at Villa Park. The competition remains Villa's only hope of salvaging something from a season that started brightly. Unbeaten in their first four league matches, Villa then suffered six defeats on the bounce, including heavy losses against Arsenal, Chelsea and Everton. They have won only twice since then.

Tuesday's defeat to Hull saw Villa drop into the relegation zone and their 22 points are only five more than bottom-of-the-table Leicester.

According to the Daily Mail, Tim Sherwood is the bookies' favourite to replace Lambert – that's the same Sherwood who only last week was installed as the front runner to replace Harry Redknapp as QPR boss. Former German striker and USA coach Jurgen Klinsmann is also mentioned as a contender, as is Bolton boss Neil Lennon and some bookies have former Manchester United boss David Moyes as a 20-1 outsider. Then there's the claim in the Irish Independent that Roy Keane could be in line for the job.

Keane resigned as Villa's assistant manager three months amid allegations of ‘explosive' training ground bust-ups with senior players. But football's a funny old game and Keane could yet have the last laugh by returning as boss.

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Bill Mann is a football correspondent for The, scouring the world's football press daily for the popular Transfer Talk column.