CHERRIES have confirmed Gary O’Neil as the club’s new permanent head coach.
The 39-year-old had been in the role on an interim basis since August.
He took charge of 12 matches prior to the World Cup break, guiding Cherries to 14th in the Premier League table as well as into the fourth round of the Carabao Cup.
And O’Neil has been rewarded for that string of results with an 18-month contract until the summer of 2024, which the club can extend by a further 12 months.
Having been thrust into his first managerial role following Scott Parker’s departure, O’Neil had the unenviable task of trying to steady the ship after the embarrassing 9-0 loss at Liverpool.
He managed to galvanise the group enough to keep a clean sheet a few days later, drawing 0-0 with Wolves.
A standout comeback win over Nottingham Forest followed, with Cherries also picking up an impressive point at Newcastle, before defeating Leicester City in front of prospective new owner Bill Foley.
But O’Neil’s credentials were called into question on the back of two games in which Cherries let a two-goal lead slip to lose against Tottenham and Leeds.
However, the former Portsmouth and Middlesbrough midfielder masterminded two big wins over Everton in the space of a few days to lift the mood ahead of the six-week pause in fixtures.
His record as interim boss read four wins, four draws and four defeats.
Cherries were heavily linked with a move for former Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa in recent weeks, in what would have been the club’s first overseas manager. Talks with the Argentine are said to have broken down, with Cherries opting to keep O’Neil in his post.
O’Neil’s first match as permanent Cherries boss will come on Wednesday, December 21, away at Newcastle United in the Carabao Cup.