AYR United have parted company with manager Lee Bullen.

The club confirmed the news on Monday, January 15, following a difficult run of results for The Honest Men.

Bullen's final match in charge was the 0-0 draw with Arbroath on Saturday which - combined with results elsewhere - saw Ayr drop to second bottom in the Championship table, just two points ahead of the Gayfield side.

Chairman David Smith said: "It is undeniable that the club is unrecognisable from the one Lee walked in to over two years ago and this is testament to his work throughout his time as Head Coach.

"Lee embodies the #WeAreUnited and has been a terrific ambassador for the football club. He has delivered the on-field targets set by the board throughout his time in charge from avoiding relegation in the 2021/22 season, to overachieving on expectations with a 2nd place finish last season, in addition to generating a significant player sale for the first time in many years.

"The relationship with the Academy has never been stronger and much of that is down to Lee's time and effort in developing that link. Few will know the personal sacrifices he has made to make our club better.

"Despite having the obvious challenge of recruiting a new midfield given injuries at the start of the season, ultimately on-field results over a sustained period of time have not been good enough and it is with real regret that we have come to this decision."

While the statement condemned those who have subjected the departing manager to abuse "online and in stadiums" in recent weeks.

It added: "Nobody deserves any form of abuse, it is never justifiable and we urge supporters to challenge this type of behaviour whenever they see or hear it."

The club are yet to confirm who will take charge in his absence but are now welcoming applications from candidates with the relevant level of experience.

Saturday's draw at Arbroath means Ayr have won just one of their last 11 league matches.

The result, coupled with a first win for new Queen's Park boss Callum Davidson, saw United slip into the relegation play-off place.

Prior to leaving the role Bullen had been the second longest serving manager in the Scottish Championship having enjoyed a spell of just over two years in the Somerset Park hotseat.

He first came into the job on January 7, 2022, replacing Jim Duffy to take up his first permanent role in management.

READ MORE: Ayr United new head coach: Lee Bullen appointed

The former Falkirk and Dunfermline defender took charge with Ayr languishing around the relegation zone in the Scottish Championship at that time.

He then steadied the ship and managed to guide The Honest Men to safety.

The following season was one which will live long in the memory of many Ayr United fans as Bullen guided the club to a second place finish.

The club were in the league title hunt for much of the season, eventually falling just five points short of eventual champions Dundee.

Unfortunately, the play-offs would be United's un-doing as they lost 8-0 on aggregate to Partick Thistle in the semi-final.

Bullen then started this season strongly with an impressive showing in the league cup group stage, defeating Premiership side St Johnstone on their way to topping the group.

Though this form would not carry into the league season, with Ayr struggling to find the form of the season prior following the loss of free-scoring striker Dipo Akinyemi.

Of their opening 20 matches this season, Ayr have won just five, also drawing five alongside ten losses. They have conceded 38 goals, scoring 25 of their own during that time.

United will now be mangerless for their next match this Saturday, January 20, as United take on Kelty Hearts at Somerset Park in the fourth round of the Scottish Cup.