Bournemouth Latest: Andoni Iraola Appointed As New Head Coach
AFC Bournemouth have made a bold move by appointing Andoni Iraola as their new head coach on a two-year deal. The Spaniard, who was previously in charge of Rayo Vallecano in La Liga, will take over from Gary O’Neil, who was surprisingly sacked after guiding the Cherries to a 15th-place finish in the Premier League last season.
Iraola is a relatively young and inexperienced manager, having only started his coaching career in 2018 with AEK Larnaca in Cyprus. However, he has shown impressive results and an attractive style of play in his previous jobs, leading Rayo Vallecano to promotion to La Liga in 2020/21 and then to a mid-table finish and a Copa del Rey semi-final appearance in 2021/22. He also took Mirandes, a second division club, to the same stage of the cup competition in 2019/20.
As a player, Iraola was a loyal servant of Athletic Bilbao, making more than 500 appearances for the Basque club and earning seven caps for Spain. He also played for New York City FC in MLS before hanging up his boots in 2016.
Iraola will face a tough challenge at Bournemouth, as he will have to adapt to a new league and a new culture, while also meeting the expectations of the club’s owner and chairman Bill Foley, who has ambitious plans for the Cherries. Foley will back Iraola with funds to strengthen the squad in the summer transfer window, and will hope that his gamble pays off.
Iraola will begin his work with Bournemouth’s players and staff in July, ahead of their first pre-season friendly against Hibernian on July 13th. His first competitive match will be at home to West Ham on August 12th, when he will try to make a positive impression on the fans and the media.
Iraola is an exciting and promising appointment for Bournemouth, who have shown their ambition and vision by hiring him. He will bring a fresh and dynamic approach to the club, and will aim to establish them as a solid and progressive Premier League side.