Lambert sacked by ailing Villa
Paul Lambert paid the price for Aston Villa's plunge into the Premier League relegation zone when he was sacked on Wednesday.
Villa chiefs had maintained during an increasingly tortuous campaign that Lambert retained their full backing but they were swift to act after Tuesday's defeat at Hull.
Lambert signed a contract extension after a good start to the season in September but Villa's form quickly deteriorated and included a dismal run of 659 minutes without a top-flight goal.
It is understood that Lambert was dismissed, rather than departing by mutual consent, and will receive a pay-off amounting to one year's salary.
He faced increasing signs of unrest from supporters while the local Birmingham Mail launched a campaign calling for his removal a matter of hours before the club announced his departure.
A statement on the club's official website said: "Aston Villa Football Club has parted company this evening with manager Paul Lambert.
"First-team coach Scott Marshall and goalkeeping coach Andy Marshall will continue to prepare the squad for Sunday's FA Cup tie with Leicester City at Villa Park.
"The club would also like to place on record its thanks to Paul and take this opportunity to wish him every success in the future.
"The club will announce a new manager in due course. There will be no further comment from the club at this stage."
The 45-year-old replaced fellow Scot Alex McLeish in June 2012 but struggled to win over supporters who were slow to warm to what many perceived as a negative style of play.
The 2-0 loss at Hull was clearly the last straw, with the Birmingham Mail declaring: "Paul Lambert is not the man to save this club from relegation and the long-term damage that disaster will bring."
The newspaper added: "No progress has been made under Lambert. In fact, this once mighty club is now staring relegation in the face."
Villa's drop down the table went hand-in-hand with a chronic lack of attacking threat and a goal drought which finally ended in a 2-1 defeat to Chelsea earlier this month.
But any hopes Jores Okore's goal could spark a change in fortunes were shattered by Tuesday night's 2-0 defeat at the KC Stadium.
Former Tottenham boss Tim Sherwood, current Real Madrid assistant Paul Clement and United States head coach Jurgen Klinsmann have already been installed among the bookmakers' favourites to replace Lambert, as owner Randy Lerner begins the search for a new boss.
Former Villa captain Peter Withe described Lambert's departure as "inevitable" after their latest defeat - and even offered to assist the club for free in a bid to retain their Premier League status.
Withe, who scored Villa's winner in the 1982 European Cup final against Bayern Munich, subsequently enjoyed a varied career in management including spells with Wimbledon, Thailand and Indonesia.
Discussing Lambert's departure, Withe told BBC Radio Five Live: "I think it was inevitable quite frankly with the way the results were going and also not scoring goals.
"I'm sure they haven't done this on a whim and I'm sure they have got people in mind. I think the most important thing is they get someone in who is right until the end of the season.
"I've said I will help them for nothing. I think they've got to get someone who has a feel for the club and can bring the fans back and also just inspire the players a little bit. I think someone who's got that feel for the football club can do that."