Aidy Boothroyd was sacked in the wake of the Cobblers’ 4-1 home defeat to Wycombe Wanderers.
Northampton dispensed with the services of the manager half an hour after the game finished at Sixfields, in which the team slumped back to the bottom of Sky Bet League Two.
Boothroyd had been Town boss for slightly more than two years but paid the price for his team’s inability to build on their sixth-place finish last season and a desperately poor start to the current campaign.
In the immediate aftermath of the defeat to Wycombe, the former Watford and Coventry City was summoned to a meeting of the board of directors and minutes later his departure was confirmed.
The loss to Wycombe leaves the Cobblers three points adrift at the bottom of the Football League and in a perilous league position.
“The chairman (David Cardoza) was not here today but other directors were and the chairman’s father was too,” club spokesman Gareth Willsher said. “The upshot of the meetings is that Aidy Boothroyd has left the club and it’s a decision that nobody is happy with and we are disappointed about.
“The board of directors have to look at the bigger picture. The league position is disappointing and the board have felt it is time to make that decision.”
It is believed Boothroyd’s assistant, former Mansfield and Swindon boss Andy King, will take charge of the side for the games at Burton Albion on Boxing Day and at Portsmouth on December 29.
King will possibly pursue the job full-time but will face a lot of competition, with highly-rated local coaches Jon Brady at Brackley Town and Nuneaton Town’s Kevin Wilkin likely to be contenders alongside out-of-work bosses such as Sean O’Driscoll and Martin Allen.
One of the new manager’s first tasks will be to trim a squad that has swelled in size as Boothroyd attempted to generate some form by drafting in several loan signings.
The new man in charge will also have to repair a squad confidence that is likely to have been badly damaged by the heavy home defeat to Wycombe.
“I don’t know if it was this game in particular but when you’re in the league position and you lose a game at home then it is very disappointing,” continued Willsher.
“To be fair to Aidy he went for it. He got the extra strikers on early and he took a bit of a gamble. The team got a goal back and then Mathias Doumbe got injured to take us down to 10 men, which took the wind out of our sails.
“When you lose 4-1 at home, no matter where you are in the league, it is very disappointing.”
Although their performance has been relegated to that of a footnote, Wycombe were very good - they took the lead after just 13 seconds through Jo Kuffour and doubled it via a Kortney Hause header 10 minutes later.
Northampton attempted a fightback and pulled the scores back to 2-1 with a goal from Milton Keynes Dons loanee Izale McLeod but the injury to Doumbe left them without a recognised centre-back on the pitch and a tails-up Wanderers side scored twice more, through Stuart Lewis and Dean Morgan, to seal a fine win.
It also spelt the end of Boothroyd’s career as Northampton Town manager.