St Helens have sensationally sacked head coach Keiron Cunningham just eight games into the Super League season.

In essence, Cunningham has become the victim of the high expectations of St Helens and their fans.

After what was seen, in relative terms, as an unsuccessful 2016 season, Saints currently lie in seventh place in the table having won three games so far and they were held to a disappointing 14-all draw at home by Huddersfield on Friday night.

St Helens Chairman Eamonn McManus stated: 鈥淜eiron has been with the club for 24 years as man, boy, player and coach.

鈥淭he commitment that he has shown to the club throughout, and in every capacity, has been without equal.

鈥淚t is both upsetting and disappointing for us all that it has ended at this point in time.

鈥淜eiron nevertheless understands the position and, as a mark of the man that he is, wishes only well and good to the club, its players and everyone associated with it.

鈥淗is statue outside the ground is a deserved reflection of his immense contribution to the club. That is clear, obvious and permanent.

鈥淲e will now look to move the club forward and will immediately commence the search for a new Head Coach.

鈥淪t.Helens is a world class club with a great squad of players and its only objective will be continuous success at the highest level.

鈥淎ssistant coaches Sean Long and Jamahl Lolesi will be joined by Under 19s coach Derek Traynor to form an interim coaching team until a new Head Coach is appointed and in place.?/p>

Cunningham signed for St.Helens in October 1993 and made his first team debut against Warrington the following August.

He won every possible honour in the game with the Saints in a glittering 496 game career and was named in its 鈥楪reatest 17鈥?as well as heading a fans鈥?poll to have a statue erected in his image to honour the club.

Keiron Cunningham, left, in happier times for St Helens
Keiron Cunningham, left, in happier times for St Helens

On his retirement from playing in 2010 he joined the backroom staff at Saints as assistant strength and conditioning coach and became assistant to acting Head Coach Mike Rush in 2012.

He then served under Nathan Brown whose side went on to win the League Leaders鈥?Shield and Grand Final in 2014.

His head coaching tenure took in 76 games and included two Super League and one Challenge Cup Semi Finals.

Speculation over who will take over from Cunningham on a permanent basis has already began.

Many Saints fans have been casting envious eyes across the Pennines at the style with which Daryl Powell has his Castleford Tigers side playing but he is unlikely to leave his hometown club at this juncture.

A more likely source of a new head coach might be Australia where the likes of ex-Saints forward David Fairleigh is highly regarded in his current role of assistant coach at North Queensland Cowboys.

What do you make of the decision? Who should replace Cunningham? Let us know in the comments below