Bournemouth have sacked Gary O’Neil despite the manager keeping the club in the Premier League last season.
O’Neil took over as interim head coach following the firing of Scott Parker in August and was given an 18-month deal in November.
He picked up 36 points during his time in charge and guided the club to 15th place in the Premier League, with many believing him to be a candidate for manager of the year.
Bournemouth owner Bill Foley explained the decision that “we have identified a number of significant targets in the transfer market” and “this change in direction will give us the best platform to build from.
“Gary will go on to have a long career as a head coach or manager, but we feel that at this time a change is in the best interests of this football club. I would like to extend my thanks to Gary and wish him all the best for the future.”
Foley also added “a new head coach will be announced soon” and Sky Sports news understands the club is in advanced talks with Andoni Iraola to take over. The former Rayo Vallacano manager is currently out of work and was approached by Leeds earlier this season regarding their vacancy.
Analysis: O’Neil’s departure surprised everyone
Sky Sports News’ Mark McAdam:
“This is news that surprised me and the football world, especially after the way Gary O’Neil kept them in the Premier League.
“He went into difficult circumstances and went through a few sticky spots, especially after the World Cup when things didn’t look good at all.
“But it was from mid-February onwards, when the club were bottom of the Premier League and staring down the barrel of a return to the Championship, that Gary O’Neil somehow managed to turn things around. They went on a brilliant winning run, with six wins in nine games.
“But when you look at the last stretch of the season, they lost all four of their last games and it wasn’t the happy end to the season that maybe the fans and the board expected and that’s why they’ve decided to do this. redo.
“They will see it as a positive and proactive move for the football club. The new owners at Bournemouth came in November, they have big, ambitious plans for the stadium, for the training ground, they invested heavily in January with £75m spent. .
“They don’t just want to take the club off the pitch, they want to take it on the pitch and that means being a Premier League club, not just for another season or two, but for many years to come.
“The club will look at this decision and say ‘right, if we make this decision now, the new manager will come in, have the whole pre-season, the whole transfer window and by the time the games come in. thick and fast at the start of August, he will be up and running and ready to go’.
“A change, say five games into the season, if the club didn’t have the start they were looking for, would have been more damaging than making the change now.
Analysis: A new manager could be appointed within 24 hours
Sky Sports News’ Mark McAdam:
“I would be hugely surprised if this decision wasn’t made with someone else potentially ready to come in pretty quickly.
“I don’t expect a managerial appointment to be a long, drawn-out process. The club will have made this decision knowing they had someone who they felt was the right person to take Bournemouth forward.
“It’s a very young, hungry team with a lot of talent in it and they’ve definitely got someone who I think will be in their reckoning and potentially we could see an announcement in the next 24 hours – it could be so fast .
“Gary O’Neil wants to get back to football very quickly… Speaking to people in and around the club and anyone connected to football, they have spoken very highly of him.
“There is also an important point that while Gary was the interim manager of Bournemouth, he had a number of approaches from Championship sides who saw him as someone who could take their clubs into the Premier League, so he is highly thought of on.
“I would suggest that there will be a number of Championship clubs who will now be looking at Gary O’Neil, possibly some Premier League teams.
“He is a young, promising, hungry coach and tactically astute. His training sessions have always been described to me as innovative, he wants to come up with good game plans and I don’t think it will be long before we see Gary O” Neil back to work.”
Carragher: O’Neil had a case to be manager of the year
Talking further Monday night football in April, Jamie Carragher was full of praise for O’Neil, highlighting the amount of play Bournemouth came from to pick up points.
He said: “At different points in the season we talk about the managers of the year, the managers who have gone above and beyond where we think they should be.
“A lot of the time we talk about Thomas Frank at Brentford and the job he’s done, but this season it’s the same names – Mikel Arteta (Arsenal), Eddie Howe (Newcastle) and of course Pep Guardiola (Man City) most seasons .
“But you could make a case for Gary O’Neil.
“His first job as a manager. He has come up behind Bournemouth lost 9-0 at Anfield. Every pundit, every journalist, every supporter who was asked their opinion at the start of the season on who should go down, everyone has Bournemouth going down, no one has them staying up.
“And to be honest, most people would have had them at the bottom.
“So to be where they are and they’re so close to actually giving themselves a big breathing room to stay in this league and I actually think they want to right now. So yeah, he’s had a huge influence.
“Look how many times they’ve won from being behind at halftime.
“They are at the top of this (list) along with Arsenal (with three). Seven clubs have done it once this season, nine clubs haven’t.
“So when a manager is brave enough and proactive from the side of the pitch when his team is behind, to then make changes tactically and bring on players who need to get a goal.
“(Marcus) Tavernier against Fulham was one. To change the system, out early in the season at Nottingham Forest when he just took over. That’s what a manager has to do. He has to influence the players on the pitch.
“When we talk about managers being reactive or proactive in his first job, to be brave enough to make those changes from the side of the pitch, I think he’s had a huge impact on where Bournemouth are in this season.”