Newcastle Jets have fired Ernie Merrick after the club's poor start to the Hyundai A-League campaign.
Merrick, 66, joined the helm in 2017 and took the Jets to the Grand Final in his inaugural 2017/18 season.
However, a string of poor results and performances, culminating in a 4-0 hammering to Melbourne Victory on Sunday, has seen club management pull the trigger.
“During Ernie’s tenure, the club reached it’s first Grand Final in more than ten years and we’re grateful for his contribution during his two and a half years in Newcastle,” said Newcastle Jets CEO, Lawrie McKinna.
“However, results and performances haven’t been good enough this season and a change was needed.
“On behalf of everyone at the club, I wish Ernie all the best in his future endeavours.”
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Newcastle are last on the Hyundai A-League ladder after managing just two wins from 11 matches this season.
The Hunter Valley club have endured a brutal run with injuries, with Abdiel Arroyo and Nigel Boogaard absent against Victory and Wes Hoolahan still yet to lace his boots in the Hyundai A-League, but performances in recent weeks have been below standard.
Following the 4-0 loss to Victory on Sunday night, Merrick gave a frank assessment of the 'budget team' the club have assembled.
“I think everyone’s aware that it’s a budget squad we’ve put together,” he said.
“Three of our starting eleven players have been out for a while.
“Our captain Nigel [Boogaard] who is a really good organiser as well as a good player at the back. Wes Hoolahan, an ex-Norwich City Premier League player, he’s been missed. And Arroyo, the Panamanian international.
“So not only have we got a budget team, we’ve got three key players out of that team who are all staring XI players. There’s a lot of boys putting in a good effort but it’s a team game. If you haven’t good quality players around you it’s hard to play good football."
Edinburgh-born Merrick is the Hyundai A-League's most experienced coach and guided Melbourne Victory to a Premiership and Championship double in 2006/07 and 2008/09.
He served as manager of the Hong Kong national team from December 2011- October 2012 before taking the reins at Wellington Phoenix, where he would serve for over three years.