After what has been an incredibly challenging few days and following extensive talks between myself and the club I can confirm that we have collectively come to the decision that it would be in the best interests of AFC Bournemouth for me to leave the club by mutual consent.
It is difficult to put into words what Bournemouth means to me, both as a town and as a football club. Having spent a total of 25 years with the club as both a player and a manager, this decision – made together with the club – is one of the hardest I’ve ever had to make. However, although the affection and love I have for this football club will always remain, we collectively feel that now is the right time for the club to go in a new direction.
Our journey together over the past decade has quite simply been an incredible one and I feel immense pride at what we’ve achieved together in that time.
The club motto is ‘Together, anything is possible’, and that’s something that we’ve always firmly believed in and strived to implement. That quote is representative of everything we have achieved as a club and it reflects the values that we all, together, have worked relentlessly to try and install in each other. We had a vision and a dream and with hard work and an unrelenting desire to continuously improve we have always strived to achieve our objectives.
When I first took charge of Bournemouth back in January 2009, the club was second bottom of League Two and our objective at that point was a clear one. Survival in the Football League and the long-term survival of the club. We managed to achieve both in a remarkable manner with Steve Fletcher’s goal against Grimsby and since that moment, although our objectives subsequently changed and continuously evolved, I’d like to think that our mindset and work ethic didn’t.
I feel blessed to be able to leave the club with memories that will last a lifetime. Survival in 2009 followed by promotions in 2010, 2013 and 2015, leading to five fantastic years in the Premier League, are of course some of the major highlights, but I am most proud of the culture of the club that everyone involved in AFC Bournemouth has helped to build and create during that time. It is that culture that ultimately enabled us to enjoy the success that we did.
There are a number of people I’d like to thank.
An enormous thank you to Maxim Demin, whose hard work, passion and backing of the club has helped us achieve all that we have in recent years. Max’s commitment and contribution to Bournemouth will never be underestimated. Thank you for all you’ve done for both me and the club.
To Adam Murry, thank you for believing in me and for giving me the opportunity to manage Bournemouth as a 31-year-old. I will always remember the belief and support you showed me.
To CEO Neill Blake, thank you for everything. I know personally how hard you work and how committed you are to achieving success for the club and have appreciated your support greatly.
To the chairman, Jeff Mostyn, I cannot thank you enough for all you have done. It’s been a remarkable journey and your diligence, enthusiasm and love for the club has played a huge role in our success.
To all of the hardworking backroom staff, of whom there are just too many to mention, thank you so much for all that you do for Bournemouth. You are all the heartbeat of the club and it’s been a joy to work alongside you all.
To my own football staff;
To Jason Tindall. What a journey we went on together. Thank you for standing by my side year after year and for the loyalty you showed through all the highs and lows we went through together. Our partnership is something I’ll always treasure.
To Richard Hughes, first team technical director, thank you for everything you’ve done for me and the club under my management. I will be forever grateful for your tireless work ethic, loyalty and friendship over the years.
To Stephen Purches, Neil Moss, Steve Fletcher and Simon Weatherstone and all of our coaching team, I will always treasure the many years we worked together and the memories we created as a group.
To Steve Hard, Craig Roberts and our medical team, Dan Hodges and all of our sport scientists as well as to Garvan Stewart and our team of analysts, thank you all. You are all exceptional in your fields.
Finally to Des Taylor, Andy Howe and all our scouting team who have worked tirelessly on the recruitment of players; thank you all.
It’s been a true privilege to work alongside all of you. You have all played an enormous part in Bournemouth’s history.
To all of the players who have represented Bournemouth during my time, none of the club’s success over the past 11 years would have been possible without you all. What you have achieved, both collectively and individually, is remarkable. You have all played a phenomenal part in the history of this club and although there are too many of you to mention individually, I can honestly say that it’s been a privilege and an honour to work with each and every one of you.
It is ultimately the players that define the success of a football club and I feel incredibly lucky to have worked with some of the best talents the club has ever seen as well as so many incredible characters. You have all contributed so much to this football club and I know you will continue to do so.
Finally, a message to the most important people of this club, our incredible fans.
Words will never be able to do true justice to the connection and feeling I have towards you all. It is for that reason that I have found the last few days particularly difficult given we were unable to share the last part of this season together and, in particular, the painful experience of last Sunday. I know how much you are all hurting, and I’m hurting with you.
I will never forget the fantastic affection you have always shown to me and my family during my time at Bournemouth.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
You helped the club survive in its darkest hour and deserve every success. I now join you as a Bournemouth supporter and will be willing the club on in what I am sure will be a successful future.
Bournemouth will always be in my heart, but I firmly believe that now is the right time for the club to have a change. I have always ensured that every decision I have ever made as manager has been in the best interests of the club and its supporters, and this is no different.
I’ll now be taking some time away during the summer break to enjoy some quality time with my family and I am looking forward to the next chapter in my life.