Frank Lampard's time as Chelsea manager is over.
The Stamford Bridge icon was sacked on Monday amidst a run of five defeats in the club's last eight league games.
That's despite taking them to the last-16 of the Champions League and the fifth round of the FA Cup. In fact, just 50 days ago, Chelsea were top of the Premier League.
Lampard has ultimately been made to pay for his new signings ostensibly failing to gel, having spent in excess of £200 million in the summer on the likes of Kai Havertz, Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech.
Roman Abramovich does not usually feel the need to justify pulling the trigger, but he contributed to Chelsea's statement to emphasise the esteem in which he holds the Englishman.
"I have an excellent personal relationship with Frank and I have the utmost respect for him," Abramovich said. “He is a man of great integrity and has the highest of work ethics. He is an important icon of this great club and his status here remains undiminished. He will always be warmly welcomed back at Stamford Bridge.”
A touching sentiment, perhaps, but one which doesn't seem to have been reflected in the manner of Lampard's axing, which was brutal to say the least.
According to Sky Sports, the 42-year-old wasn't even allowed to say goodbye to the players at Cobham.
"He probably thought he might be given a bit more time given that he is a Chelsea legend, given that he's tried to do what the club asked him to do in that he's used some of the youngsters...And went the first season without any big-money transfers, or any transfers at all, in fact," Gary Cotterill explained.
The Sun add that the meeting in which Lampard was told his contract would be terminated lasted just 30 minutes.
While it was Abramovich's call, it was Bruce Buck and director Marina Granovskaia who summoned him to the boardroom at 9am.
The report claims it was a "professional and difficult conversation on all sides", with Lampard's staff then being informed of the news by phone.
The hierarchy first decided Chelsea were in decline when they lost 3-1 to Arsenal on Boxing Day.
The final straw came in the win over Luton in the FA Cup, when Werner missed a penalty - that further served to convince Abramovich that confidence was low in the squad.
So Lampard departs with his personal relationship with the billionaire not having proven enough to save him from the inevitable fate that goes with taking the job in west London.
Nor did nearly two decades of acquaintance earn him any kinder treatment than was received by his predecessors.News Now - Sport News