In August last year, Gary O'Neil stepped in as the interim head coach for Bournemouth following the dismissal of Scott Parker. Recognizing his decent on-pitch-off-pitch efforts, the club rewarded O'Neil with an 18-month deal in the November.
During his tenure, O'Neil successfully accumulated 36 points, guiding the team to a solid15th place finish in the Premier League. Many supporters even considered him a strong contender for Manager of the Year. However, the club has today announced via social media O'Neil's departure, stating, "Gary will go on to have a long career as a head coach or manager, but we feel that, at this moment in time, a change is in the best interests of this football club. I would like to place on record my thanks to Gary and wish him all the best for the future." from Bournemouth owner Bill Foley. Shortly after the news of O'Neil's departure broke, Bournemouth waited no more than two hour before announcing new manager appointee Andoni Iraola, who has signed on a two-year contract. Iraola became available for the position after leaving Rayo Vallecano at the end of the season.
It is still surprising that O'Neil was dismissed despite successfully steering Bournemouth to Premier League safety after Scott Parker's departure. Inside sources reveal that the decision to part ways with O'Neil stemmed from the club's desire to adopt a different style of play to accelerate their progress. Interestingly, Leeds United had previously attempted to secure Iraola's services, but their approach went unsuccessful. The 40-year-old former Athletic Bilbao midfielder was on Bournemouth's shortlist when Parker was sacked in August. However, Iraola was unwilling to make a mid-season move at the time. If you were a Bournemouth fan at this present moment in time, there must be a lot to take in. Some or maybe most more than likely confused by the decision to release O'Neil, but also, the fans must surely be excited to see what brand of football they are in store for going into the next Premier League campaign. Iraola has the capacity to introduce a new style of play, and could potentially even attract foreign players to the south-coast club. In summary, this appointment could either be very good or very bad for the Cherries - and we'll soon be catching a glimpse of it by ways of Iraola's movement in the transfer market.