Date: 16th April 2021 at 9:55am
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Amidst the change in the guard at Dean Court in recent months, one constant has remained.

For nearly ten years, AFC Bournemouth was a club of stability. Eddie Howe was the manager from October 2012 until his departure in July 2020 following relegation from the Premier League. At the time he was English football’s second longest-serving manager, since then the Cherries have moved on to their third manager in less than a year.

Howe’s long-serving assistant manager Jason Tindall, who had stood by his side during his first spell at Dean Court which began in 2009, followed him to Burnley and then back, took the reigns, attempting to step out of Howe’s shadow. That experiment lasted less than six months before he was replaced by Jonathan Woodgate, initially on a temporary basis, before being made permanent.

The former Tottenham Hotspur and Real Madrid centre-back didn’t take long to mix up the AFC Bournemouth backroom team.

In came Gary O’Neil and Joe Jordon, both men who had previously worked with Woodgate during his playing and fledging coaching career. Both men had also previously worked with Harry Redknapp, who Woodgate has also spoken with during his time at Dean Court.

Understandably, with AFC Bournemouth’s improving form in recent weeks, clocking up five consecutive victories, lifting themselves to fifth in the Championship table, both Woodgate and his new coaching additions have received the plaudits.

But one man has been overlooked for the part he has played, promoted to first-team coach under Eddie Howe and then assistant manager under Jason Tindall, Stephen Purches has remained as number two under Woodgate.

Woodgate has nothing but positive things to say about Purches and he told the Daily Echo

“…Purchy has been very good. He’s a really, really impressive coach. Some of the sessions he puts on are really good.

“He’s great with advice, I ask for his opinions and I think that’s important as a group that you rely on each other, you rely on people’s opinions and they give you an honest view and that’s what I get.

“I don’t like yes men, I like people with opinions. I like people to test me and push boundaries and I think as a coach that’s the only way you’re going to evolve…”

“…He is a benefit in everything really. He knows all the younger players coming through as well, I think that’s important since I’ve been here.

“He offers advice on different scenarios of what’s happening at the club. He’s been there and done it at this club, so it’s really pleasing to have him.

“He’s worked with an exceptional manager in Eddie Howe, he’s worked with a special assistant in Jason Tindall, so he’s full of experience and someone that I’ve tapped into in a huge way really.”

Your say…

Audenshaw Cherry wrote…

I wonder how much influence these two have had (Gary O’Neil and Joe Jordon).

It seems that since they arrived the whole atmosphere in the team, the effort and tactics have improved greatly.

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