Southend has turned to former boss Phil Brown in a bid to save his Football League status after sacking Mark Molesley six games out of the season.
The Shrimpers are six points adrift of safety in League Two and face dropping out of the Football League for the first time since arriving in 1920.
Molesley took over from Sol Campbell this summer, but only won eight of his 40 league games, and the club have now lost patience with their fate still on the line.
Brown returns to Roots Hall where he managed for five years between 2013 and 2018 and took the Ligue 2 club in a solid Ligue 1 outfit.
A club statement on Friday read: “The club terminated manager Mark Molesley’s contract last night, with the majority of their staff behind the scenes.
“We would like to thank Mark for his commitment throughout his tenure. The Board recognizes that the management team has worked tirelessly. However, while considerable additional support was provided during the January window, the results on the ground have unfortunately remained inconsistent.
“Phil Brown, who previously ran the club between 2013 and 2018, will take the helm with immediate effect.
Brown, who has signed some members of the existing squad, will be assisted by his former colleague Ricky Duncan (Academy director) and Craig Fagan (U23 coach), who played under Brown when he led Hull City between 2006 and 2010. “
Brown’s first game of his second spell will be against Crawley on Saturday.