Peterborough United have confirmed manager Darren Ferguson has left the club by mutual consent.
The 37-year-old, the son of Manchester United boss Sir Alex, led Posh to back-to-back promotions since taking over in January 2007.
But they lie bottom of the Championship with just two league wins this season.
"Following a series of meetings with the manager, Peterborough have decided to part company by mutual consent," read a club statement.
"The football club would like to thank Darren for his magnificent service during his time at London Road and wish him and his family all the best for the future.
"Peterborough United Football Club wish to assure all it supporters that the perceived delay in announcing the departure of the manager by mutual consent was entirely due to the confidential terms and conditions that underpinned the agreement which was not approved and finalised until this afternoon.".
Ferguson's last game in charge was Saturday's 3-1 defeat at Newcastle, their third successive reverse.
Supporters had to wait over 24 hours between news reports of Ferguson's departure appearing and the club confirming the situation.
Posh chief executive Bob Symns explained: "The delay has been talking through the issues, the challenges for everybody involved. And making sure everyone is happy with how the departure has been managed."
Club captain Russell Martin, who had found himself out of favour in recent weeks, admitted the news was unexpected.
The 23-year-old told BBC Radio Cambridgeshire: "We're surprised and disappointed because the responsibility falls on us at the end of the day.
"We've let Ferguson down so far this season. While performances at times have been good we haven't got the results we needed."
The right-back, who Ferguson brought in from Wycombe in 2008, was keen to pay tribute to his former boss.
He said: "He's improved everyone as a player. As a person everyone's got a lot stronger.
"But that's football, the decision has been made. We've got a massive challenge ahead of us and we can't let it affect us. The boys are despondent at the moment but we'll have to pick ourselves up."
The Scot had become one of the most highly-rated young British managers following successive promotions in his first two full seasons in charge and was wanted by Reading in the summer.
At the time, Posh chairman Darragh MacAnthony said: "We've got the best young manager in the country, he's just claimed back-to-back promotions and we have a terrific group of young players."
Ferguson won 73 of his 145 games in charge at London Road, suffering just 40 defeats.
He signed a new four-year contract in July after he was refused permission to speak to the Royals.
Watch Posh's latest defeat - a 3-1 reverse at Newcastle
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