Ireland have terminated the contract of national coach Steve Staunton by mutual consent, the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) has confirmed.
The position of Staunton, the former Ireland, Liverpool and Aston Villa defender, looked in jeopardy after last week’s 1-1 draw with Cyprus ended Ireland’s hopes of qualifying for Euro 2008.
“I think we came to what I would call a mutual consent arrangement whereby everybody thought the best way forward… at this stage was that we would look for a change of manager and that Stephen would step aside,” FAI Chief Executive John Delaney told a news conference.
Delaney said it was “extremely disappointing that it has not worked out”.
FAI President David Blood thanked Staunton and his management team for their efforts since taking over in January 2006.
“They have brought through many young players and leave behind a squad with strong development potential,” Blood said in a statement.
Staunton was appointed despite having no previous coaching experience.
He had shrugged off repeated calls by fans to quit after a 5-2 loss away to Cyprus last year and a last-gasp 2-1 win over San Marino in February.
“We did have a four-year plan and there were assurances given to Stephen Staunton, but because recent results and performances we have been forced to change,” Delaney said.
Ireland Under-21 team manager Don Givens will take temporary charge of the senior side for the final Euro 2008 qualifier against Wales on November 17.
Former England manager Bobby Robson, who was brought in as consultant to the squad in 2006 to offset the inexperience of Staunton, will stay on his role.