Southend have turned to former boss Phil Brown in a bid to save their Football League status after sacking Mark Molesley with six games of the season left.
The Shrimpers are six points adrift of safety in League Two and are facing dropping out of the Football League for the first time since joining in 1920.
Molesley took over from Sol Campbell in the summer but won just eight of his 40 league matches in charge, and the club have now lost patience with their fate still in the balance.
Brown returns to Roots Hall where he managed for five years between 2013 and 2018 and took the club from League Two into a solid League One outfit.
A club statement on Friday read: “The club last night terminated the contract of manager Mark Molesley, together with the majority of his backroom staff.
“We wish to thank Mark for the commitment throughout his tenure. The board recognise the management team worked tirelessly. However, whilst considerable further support was afforded during the January window, results on the pitch remained, unfortunately, inconsistent.
“Phil Brown, who previously managed the club between 2013 and 2018, will take charge with immediate effect.
“Brown, who signed some members of the existing squad, will be assisted by his former colleague Ricky Duncan (head of Academy) and Craig Fagan (U23 manager), who played under Brown when he managed Hull City between 2006 and 2010.”
Brown’s first game of his second spell will be against Crawley on Saturday.