Salford have sacked head coach Karl Harrison with immediate effect.
Harrison was the longest serving coach in Super League
The Reds are bottom of Super League with just three wins, and suffered a humiliating 66-6 loss to Catalans Dragons at the weekend.
Director of football Steve Simms will take over as caretaker coach until the club make a new full-time appointment.
"The club feels that with 13 fixtures remaining in the season, the time has come for a new direction," said Salford chairman John Wilkinson.
Super League XII is the worst season to be relegated since summer rugby was introduced, with promotion and relegation set to be scrapped in time for the 2009 season.
Harrison appeared to have been given the backing of senior figures at the club earlier in the week.
But a meeting on Tuesday between Harrison, Wilkinson, Simms and chief executive David Tarry ended with the coach's dismissal after five years at the helm.
And Simms suggested that a new appointment could be imminent.
"You don't make tough decisions like this without a back-up plan," he said.
"There are a lot of things that have to be done and looked at. We can't say too much at the moment."
But Harrison said he could leave The Willows with his head held high.
"I've left on very amicable terms," said Harrison.
"We had a team meeting on Monday, when everybody was positive about getting the results we needed for the remaining part of the season.
We've been broken by injuries all year
"The chairman has decided to take a different route and that's his prerogative. It's his club at the end of the day.
"I'm really proud of my efforts and I've worked really hard over the last five years.
"We've changed the perception of the club, improved the playing staff, got a scholarship up and running and got a training base and gymnasium which they never had before.
"The club is going forward. Unfortunately, it is a results-based business and the results haven't been the best."
The former Great Britain prop was the longest-serving coach in the Super League, having joined Salford in June 2002.
Harrison succeeded John Kear as England coach in 2004 but stood down two years later in order to spend more time with his family.
He guided the Reds into the play-offs for the first time last season, and had been one of the names linked with the Great Britain job before Tony Smith took the role.
But injuries to key players - including inspirational captain Malcolm Alker - have seen Salford struggle to keep pace with their rivals at the foot of the Super League table, conceding 166 points in their last three matches.
"We've been broken by injuries all year and it's been difficult for young guys to come in and get results," said Harrison.
"(Legendary Australian coach) Wayne Bennett could have come in and he wouldn't have got the results."
Harrison, who signed a new three-year contract last year, joined the club in 2002 but was unable to prevent the Reds from relegation that season.
He secured promotion at the first attempt, and established Salford as a Super League force over the subsequent seasons before this year's struggles.
Salford's next game is against in-form Huddersfield on Friday.