It was only four weeks ago that Jonathan Woodgate joined the backroom team at AFC Bournemouth, under the management of Jason Tindall.
Just 48 hours later and Tindall was sacked by the AFC Bournemouth hierarchy of owner Maxim Demin, chief executive Neill Blake and technical director Richard Hughes and Woodgate was placed in temporary charge of first-team affairs.
Stephen Purches, who had been a coach under former manager Eddie Howe and promoted to assistant manager under Jason Tindall remained in the position following Woodgate’s announcement as caretaker manager.
Meanwhile, the AFC Bournemouth hierarchy began their “full and thorough due diligence on suitable external candidates ahead of an interview process“, according to the media it came down to a choice of two, former Huddersfield Town manager David Wagner and former Arsenal legend Thierry Henry. Shortly after AFC Bournemouth reportedly approached Henry’s club Montreal, Woodgate, who had not been interviewed for the role, was given the job on a permanent basis until the end of the 2020/21 campaign.
With Woodgate handed the role until the end of the season, this left a hole to be filled in regards to the coaching staff. Woodgate has moved swiftly and has added two new faces to the backroom team, whilst Purches has remained on the touchline alongside Woodgate as his assistant.
The first addition announced was Gary O’Neil, a former team-mate of Woodgate’s during his time at Middlesbrough. The 37-year-old retired from professional football in 2019 after playing for Portsmouth, Middlesbrough, West Ham United, Queens Park Rangers, Norwich City, Bristol City and Bolton Wanderers, winning promotion from the Championship with Pompey, West Ham, QPR and Norwich.
Since his retirement, he joined Liverpool as assistant manager to the Under-23 squad in August 2020.
Following his appointment, Woodgate told the Daily Echo…
“He’s someone I knew at Middlesbrough and he comes well recommended from Liverpool.
“He’s a very keen coach, wants to learn and can bring a lot to the group.”
Woodgate however wasn’t finished with the addition of O’Neil as he also added 69-year-old veteran coach Joe Jordon to his staff.
Jordon is a former coach who worked alongside Harry Redknapp during his time at both Portsmouth and Tottenham Hotspur.
During his spell at Portsmouth, he would have worked with O’Neil, whilst during his time at Tottenham he worked with Woodgate. He was also at Middlesbrough when Woodgate first joined the coaching staff there in 2017.
Also speaking to the Daily Echo, Woodgate said…
“With Joe Jordan, I think he will be an astute signing for us. He brings that experience in the group and I think that’s vital.
“I think that’s really important, I think that’s good for us.
“I was with Joe when I was at Spurs as a player. He was the assistant manager then to Harry and then at Middlesbrough.
“I know Joe. He’s someone I can trust, I can rely on and he’s a good man.”
AFC Bournemouth supporters first glimpses of the pair came during the fiesty 1-0 victory over Watford at Dean Court, O’Neil took up his place on the bench in the technical area alongside goalkeeper coach Neil Moss, whilst Jordon took up a seat in the executive area close to AFC Bournemouth chairman Jeff Mostyn, potentially highlighting their very different roles in the set-up alongside Woodgate.
The issue I have with all this chopping and changing of backroom staff is that Woodgate is on a 3-month contract… Early indications point to him not having enough about him to be in charge after that 3 months…
So part of me struggles with how you plan for the future..? Is Jordan on a 3 months contract as well…? O’Neil??? Will we be doing this dance again in June…? – Join the conversation, click here.