Eddie Howe has left his job as Bournemouth manager by mutual consent.
After the Cherries’ relegation to the Championship, Howe said ending his 25-year association with the club was “one of the hardest (decisions) I’ve ever had to make”.
“Although the affection and love I have for this football club will always remain, we collectively feel that now is the right time for the club to go in a new direction,” he said, in an open letter to the club’s supporters.
“Bournemouth will always be in my heart, but I firmly believe that now is the right time for the club to have a change.”
“I have always ensured that every decision I have ever made as manager has been in the best interests of the club and its supporters, and this is no different.”
The 42-year-old was responsible for managing Bournemouth from League Two right the way up to the Premier League for the first time in the club’s history in 2015.
He left the club to join Burnley after taking the Cherries into League One in 2010 but returned to the south coast to lead them into the Championship in 2013 and the top-flight two years later, where they had firmly established themselves until this season.
The club’s chief executive Neill Blake said: “Eddie Howe is synonymous with this football club, both as a player and a manager, and that will never change.
“He is quite simply an AFC Bournemouth legend, having helped transform the identity and history of the club.
“Myself, our owner Maxim Demin and the board’s gratitude and appreciation for Eddie’s achievements cannot and will never be underestimated.
“A decision like this cannot be taken lightly, which is why this has been discussed together at length over the past few days. It is even harder given our close personal friendship.
“We wish Eddie well for whatever the future holds and hope he enjoys some much-deserved and well-earned time with his family.”
Howe – a former Bournemouth player who played for the club over 300 times – leaves Bournemouth after managing over 450 games and achieving a highest ever league finish of ninth in 2017.