Bournemouth have announced the appointment of Andoni Iraola as the club's new head coach on a two-year deal - just a couple of hours after the hugely surprising decision to sack Gary O'Neil, despite the 40-year-old keeping the Cherries in the Premier League. 

O'Neil, in his first job as a manager, took over the newly promoted side from Scott Parker in August after their 9-0 trouncing at Liverpool.

The former Portsmouth and West Ham midfielder steadied the ship however, winning three and drawing three of his first six league games before going on to beat the likes of Liverpool and Tottenham as Bournemouth finished 15th. 

However, that wasn't enough to O'Neill to keep his job, with Iraola taking his place after an impressive spell in charge of Rayo Vallecano. 


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The former Athletic Bilbao right-back and Spain international retired as a player in 2016, before entering management in 2018 with AEK Larnaca.

Having been sacked less than eight months into his time in Cyprus, his next job was at Mirandes, newly promoted to the Spanish second tier. 

Iraola led them to an 11th-placed finish and was then appointed by Rayo Vallecano, leading the small Madrid outfit to LaLiga promotion before Los Franjirrojos reached the Copa del Rey semi-finals and came 12th the following campaign, improving on that by finishing 11th in 2022/23. 

In that final season at Rayo, Iraola turned down an approach from Leeds to replace Jesse Marsch, and despite being linked with a move to Elland Road this summer, he has instead chosen to make the Vitality his next home. 

Explaining the decision to recruit Iraola, owner and chairman Bill Foley said: "We're so excited to welcome Andoni to the club.

"With his contract in Spain coming to an end this summer, we wanted to act quickly.

"He was highly sought after by other clubs across the continent and his style of play has been an important factor in making this decision.

"His achievements in Spain have certainly been very impressive and we're confident that he is the right man to lead our next chapter.

"We have identified a number of targets in the transfer market, which along with our January additions will supplement our strong playing squad to give Andoni the best chance to consolidate our Premier League status and keep progressing."

Paying tribute to O'Neil, Foley said: "Gary's achievement last season is one I will always be grateful for.

"This has been a difficult decision, but it has been made with great consideration to best position ourselves ahead of the coming season.

"As a club, we have put plans in place for long-term success with improvements being made to infrastructure, most notably the development of a new state-of-the-art training facility and the ongoing discussions around upgrades to our stadium.

"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."