Ballymena United part company with manager Glenn Ferguson

Glenn Ferguson. Picture: Press Eye.

Glenn Ferguson. Picture: Press Eye.

Ballymena United have tonight parted company with manager Glenn Ferguson.

The former Northern Ireland international striker has had his contract terminated with immediate effect.

Ferguson, along with his coaching staff of Lee Doherty and Norman Kelly, leaves his position at the Showgrounds after just over four years in charge.

A United spokesman said: “The club felt a change was needed to freshen up the team after getting dangerously close to the relegation zone.

“We thank Glenn for his service to the club and for what he achieved and we wish him well for the future.”

Ferguson was appointed on New Year’s Eve 2011 and within 11 months had delivered the club’s first major trophy for almost a quarter of a century when they defeated Linfield on penalties to win the County Antrim Shield.

He repeated that feat just six weeks ago, while Ballymena were also beaten in the final of the Irish Cup in 2014 and the League Cup last season, as the Sky Blues developed a formidable record in knockout competitions under Ferguson.

But the club’s failure to make a decisive impact on the league championship caused frustration among supporters, with Ballymena unable to break into the top half of the Dankse Bank Premiership table.

United’s league form has been particularly disappointing this season and a run of five straight league defeats has seen the Sky Blues slump to ninth position in the 12-team league, just five points ahead of the relegation play-off position.

With United having no match until March 12, no decision has yet been taken on who will take over the running of the team in the interim.

We’ll have more reaction to this developing story as we get it.