By Paul Fletcher and Chris Bevan
Stuart Pearce lasted just over 26 months in charge of Manchester City.
His reign will be remembered for a bright start that almost took the club into Europe before a steady decline that ended with him getting the sack.
It is only a year since Pearce was seen as a realistic contender for the position of England head coach.
BBC Sport looks at how his fortunes changed during his time at Eastlands.
THE LOSS OF FORM
Pearce became caretaker manager following Kevin Keegan's decision to leave early in March 2005.
The new man's first game in charge of City was a 2-1 defeat to Tottenham on 19 March.
CITY UNDER PEARCE
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Highest Prem position: 4th
FA Cup: QF 2006 & 2007
Carling Cup: 2nd round exits to Doncaster (2005) and Chesterfield (2006)
But as the 2004-05 season drew to a close City won four and drew three of their next seven and - with one game left - Pearce was unveiled as successor to Keegan on a permanent basis.
A win against Middlesbrough on 15 May would have put City into the Uefa Cup but Mark Schwarzer saved Robbie Fowler's last-gasp penalty and it was Boro who went into Europe.
The consolation for Pearce was that his side still finished the season with an eight-game unbeaten streak and they picked up where they left off at the beginning of the 2005-06 campaign.
That first full season under Pearce started well, with City staying unbeaten in their first five fixtures to sit fourth in the Premiership table.
But it proved to be the high-water mark of Pearce's time at the helm.
Form fell away spectacularly towards the end of the 2005-06 campaign - City losing nine of their last 10 games - and the club finished 15th.
City beat Arsenal 1-0 in the third game of the 2006-07 season to climb seven places to 10th in the fledgling Premiership table.
At the turn of the year City found themselves in the top half of the table again, but their form declined sharply thereafter and Pearce's team were dragged into the relegation battle until a run of 11 points from four games in March and April put them safe.
Away form was a constant problem, with just 11 wins from the 42 matches City played on the road under Pearce.
But it was City's form at Eastlands that proved most damaging to their former boss.
Take their FA Cup exploits out of the equation and City have not scored at home since they defeated Everton 2-1 in a Premiership fixture on New Year's Day.
FINDING THE NET
Pearce spent more than £11m in the transfer market in his time at the club - but recouped more than £22m, largely thanks to the sale of Shaun Wright-Phillips to Chelsea in July 2005.
The biggest problem for Pearce was the impact - or rather lack of - from his purchases up front.
Goal celebrations have been scarce for Samaras
Top of the list has to be striker Georgios Samaras, bought from Dutch side Heerenveen for £6m in January 2006.
The Greek striker's 16 months in English football have been a bitter disappointment.
He has made 26 Premiership starts and a further 24 substitute appearances, scoring eight goals.
Samaras did not score in the final 18 games he played of the 2006-07 season and at one point earlier in the campaign he went another 14 matches without finding the net.
In total he has scored only 11 goals for City in 58 appearances and has rarely appeared suited to the physicality and relentless pace of the English game.
To date he averages £545,454.545 per goal.
Darius Vassell, brought in from Aston Villa for £2m in the summer of 2005, has hardly fared better, with 15 goals in 78 appearances, although he has often been used as a winger.
Bernardo Corradi, brought in from Valencia for an undisclosed fee in July 2006 and with Inter Milan and Lazio among his former clubs, has scored three times in 29 appearances.
Pearce also brought fans favourite Paul Dickov back to the club last summer on a free transfer.
Dickov scored some crucial goals during his first stint at Maine Road but is yet to score in his second spell.
Tellingly, midfielder Joey Barton ended the season as the club's top Premiership scorer with six goals.
Only Barton, Samaras and Corradi found the net more than once in the Premiership during the 2006-07 season.
In the light of this it will come as no surprise that City scored just 29 goals in their 38 Premiership games during the season, along with Watford, the joint-lowest total in the division.
Barton was City's top scorer in the Premiership with six goals
Even here Aidy Boothroyd's team managed to score more at home.
City managed just 10 goals in 19 Premiership fixtures at Eastlands - nine less than the Hornets notched at Vicarage Road.
Manchester rivals United, on the other hand, have scored 46 goals at Old Trafford and 37 away from home in the Premiership.
BAD BUYS, WRONG SALES?
Pearce cannot be blamed for the sale of England keeper David James to Portsmouth for an undisclosed fee last summer.
James wanted to leave for personal reasons - and went on to enjoy one of the best seasons of his career.
Pearce spent £2m on his replacement - Swedish stopper Andreas Isaksson from Rennes.
Isaksson's first season at Eastlands was undermined by injuries but Pearce was able to call upon a rejuvenated Nicky Weaver before Isaksson became first choice towards the end of the campaign.
Pearce pinched Hamann from under Bolton's noses - but has the move worked out?
Pearce also sold striker Andy Cole to Pompey after the veteran had scored nine Premiership goals in 22 league appearances in his one season with City.
But Cole wanted to go and his scoring record on the south coast appears to vindicate Pearce's decision to allow him to leave.
Cole managed just three Premiership goals this term, from five starts and 13 substitute appearances and ended the campaign on loan at Birmingham.
However, another summer departure, Antoine Sibierski, enjoyed a highly successful season after joining Newcastle on transfer deadline day in August 2006.
Sibierski scored eight goals for the Magpies and formed an excellent partnership with Obafemi Martins, who flourished alongside the Frenchman.
In terms of signings, Pearce signed Dietmar Hamann from under the noses of Bolton but the experienced German had an injury-plagued first season at the club.
And the likes of DaMarcus Beasley, Hatem Trabelsi and Ousmane Dabo were largely mediocre at best.
The failure to capture Egyptian striker Mido from Tottenham during the January transfer window, when an 11th hour bid fell through, looked costly given City's scoring problems.
But the eventual arrival of Emile Mpenza and Michael Ball proved to be astute - and cheap - signings that helped keep City in the Premiership.
And Pearce's willingness to use the young players who had come through the club's youth system meant his mistakes in the transfer market proved less vital than they could have done.
Before his sacking, Pearce called for more resources to boost his squad this summer.
But given his overall record in the transfer market it is understandable why the board did not back him further when they had the chance.