Eddie Howe has given up his role as Bournemouth manager by mutual agreement, ending his long collaboration with the South Coast Club.
The 42-year-old, who had been the second longest head of English league football, could not keep the cherries in the Premier League. The relegation was confirmed on the last day of the season despite a 3-1 win in Everton.
Howe leaves Bournemouth after more than 450 responsible games in two spells at the Vitality Stadium and writes an emotional letter to the fans, admitting that the time was right for a change.
Here the news agency PA takes a closer look at what might come next for the 42-year-old.
Take some time out
Howe ended his open letter, stressing that "during the summer break, he would take some time to have a good time with my family and I look forward to the next chapter in my life." How long Howe will be out of the game remains to be seen, especially given the high esteem he enjoys in football for all efforts in Bournemouth, despite the way things may have ended. Howe had spoken regularly about the mental hassle of a difficult and lengthy campaign that had affected him personally. As early as January, he found that work stress disrupted family life, while more recently he talked about being "consumed" by work and being "injured" in the club's ongoing struggles. It's been almost eight years since Howe returned to Dorset after a brief spell as Burnley boss. A well-deserved break from the game's stress to think about its next steps is on the agenda, at least in the short term.
A new beginning
In recent seasons there has been repeated speculation that Howe will be poached by a so-called larger club. The obvious question is: who? The Cherry's bad campaign will have tarnished its reputation in the Premier League, while there are currently few, if any, top clubs in the market for a manager. The connections between Howe and the main jobs at Arsenal and Tottenham now seem a distant memory. Midfielders like Newcastle and Crystal Palace could be more realistic goals if they suddenly suddenly parted ways with their current managers. West Ham, whose failure to beat Aston Villa sent Bournemouth down, could also be classified in this category. After fighting so hard to beat Bournemouth against adversity, Howe would have the chance to prove himself again? A change, they say, is as good as a break.
Further away from home?
Moving abroad or into an international setup is one of the other ways Howe offers when he feels ready to start the game again. In the currently uncertain climate, an overseas trip would not be without risks – both in terms of health and career. Chris Coleman, David Moyes, Nigel Pearson and Alan Pardew are some of the UK managers who have recently tried to run European clubs with varying degrees of relative success. Moving north of the Scotland border could also give Howe a way back into football, albeit outside the Old Firm, with Celtic and Rangers likely not making any quick changes. Howe was previously described as a future English coach, but with Bournemouth's relegation on his resume, all of this speculation is a thing of the past.