One thing is for certain, whilst Jonathan Woodgate may have been thrown into a position, not of his choosing, he cannot claim that he wasn’t backed by the Dean Court hierarchy once he found himself in the Cherries hot seat.
Back in January, AFC Bournemouth offered Jonathan Woodgate a chance to come out of the footballing wilderness. He made the move south after a disappointing spell as manager of Middlesbrough to join the coaching staff under then-manager Jason Tindall and assistant manager Stephen Purches.
Within 48 hours, however, Jason Tindall had been sacked as manager and Woodgate was put in caretaker charge with Purches remaining as assistant boss.
The move was supposed to be a temporary one whilst “…the club’s board of directors identify and conduct full and thorough due diligence on suitable external candidates ahead of an interview process, with the aim of confirming a new permanent manager as swiftly as possible.”
18 days later, after the media had heavily linked David Wagner or Theirry Henry to the role, it was actually Woodgate, who hadn’t been interviewed, who was given the role until the conclusion of the 2020/21 campaign.
Despite working to a contract of less than six months, Woodgate was backed by the AFC Bournemouth hierarchy to build his own backroom team. Stephen Purches remained as an assistant, whilst Gary O’Neil, a former team-mate of Woodgate’s during his time at Middlesbrough, joined them in the dug-out and Joe Jordon, who had worked with Woodgate at both Tottenham Hotspur and Middlesbrough also joined the backroom team.
Many will claim that the mandate that Woodgate was given was to get AFC Bournemouth into the play-offs, something Woodgate achieved with three games to spare off the back of seven consecutive victories.
But the three-game slump ahead of the play-offs many will argue put the Cherries on the back foot in the play-offs. Finishing sixth meant the hardest fixture of all in the end-of-season lottery, a two-game tie with Brentford.
With 75 minutes of the tie remaining, the Cherries held a two-goal lead, but would conspire to lose the tie and miss out on a Championship Play-Off Final at Wembley.
The post-mortem on the Cherries 2020/21 campaign is now officially underway.
What went wrong following relegation from the Premier League post-lockdown and the departure of Eddie Howe?
Was Jonathan Woodgate the right appointment?
And what happens next? Should Woodgate be given a new contract and a chance to build his own squad in his own image for a crack at promotion in 2022?
Or should the AFC Bournemouth hierarchy be looking for a third new manager in less than 12 months?
Should Woodgate be manager for 2021/22 season?
Don’t think he’s given us a reason to sack him and got us on a nice winning run. Think we should stick with him until results indicate otherwise.
Although there’s definitely an argument for a completely fresh start if there are massive changes to the squad this summer.
Toronto John wrote…
The debate over his tactics in the final three games now looms large. You can only measure the decision, especially against Wycombe, against the outcome. A win today and we can argue that he made the right call to rest players and not be concerned about the opponent in the semi-final.
But today’s loss now puts forward the argument that he should have kept the momentum going, or at least got us into 4th where we would have had the second leg at home. Hindsight, I know, but how else do you measure any decision in sports where the outcome is binary …. win or lose, no other variables.
I’d have him back unless we see someone who clearly is an upgrade. We will lose a number of players over the summer, but will also have some money to spend to shore up the team. Cannot fear SUFC, WBA or Fulham, so with a bit of luck, a few new faces and some good tactics, why couldn’t we contend for a playoff spot next season?
Final account ….. a hesitant “yes”.
Yes, we’ve got an identity under Woodgate and it ain’t pretty is it?! And he’s totally found out against the better opposition.
Even managed to turn a seven game-winning run into a blundering three-game defeat when the play-offs are all about momentum.
Sure his influence along with O’Neil and Jordan has added the nastier, fighting side into the squad at times but the pendulum has swung too far in that direction for my liking.
There are pros and cons for Woodgate… the pros mainly revolve on consistency and knowing the players etc. However, you have to realistically think the lions share of that team on Saturday will either be gone or looking to go by the time we kick off next season.
We all said it when we got relegated and we’ll at it again more so now… If we’re going to consider ourselves a club that belongs in the top two tiers of football then we need to rebuild the club with personnel that know how to do that… both off and on the field…
Woodgate has done some things to steady us and unite the team a bit, but I’ve always thought he’s not right for us going forward… I think he, along with his staff, have turned us into a team I don’t really like to watch at the moment… We’ve swung too far in the direction of being nasty to play against…
We’re a million miles away from the team that beat Man Utd and Chelsea and everyone waxed lyrical about… We need to start heading back in that direction, and I don’t think Woodgate will do that for us… Sorry, it’s a no from me… – Join the conversation, click here.