Who is Wolves managerial target Gary O’Neil? Age, career stats and Bournemouth sacking explained

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
A look at the career of reported Wolves managerial target Gary O’Neil.

Wolves may already know who their ideal candidate is to replace Julen Lopetegui after a chaotic 24 hours at Molineux.

Lopetegui decided to walk away from his role after a matter of months on Tuesday evening, although it’s reported Wolves had been aware of the Spaniard’s desire to leave for some time. In the end, the club said they had: “accepted their differences of opinion on certain issues and agreed that an amicable end to his contract was the best solution”.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The news broke just days before Wolves’ opening clash of the season against Manchester United on Monday night, and the search is now on for a new manager. Although, the BBC are already reporting that former AFC Bournemouth boss Gary O’Neil is the favourite.

Here we run you through what you need to know about O’Neil.

Playing career

O’Neil enjoyed a long playing career that started with Portsmouth in 2000. He made 174 league appearances over seven years at Fratton Park, moving on to Middlesborough before enjoying spells at West Ham and Queens Park Rangers.

In the back end of his career, the former midfielder played for Norwich City, Bristol City and Bolton Wanderers before hanging up his boots in 2019. He enjoyed promotions to the Premier League with Portsmouth, West Ham, QPR and Norwich.

Managerial career

O’Neil’s initial introduction into management came in the form of an under-23s job with Liverpool in 2020.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He then moved on to become a first team coach with Bournemouth, linking up with Jonathan Woodgate in 2021. After Woodgate was sacked, the former midfielder remained a part of Scott Parker’s coaching staff as the Cherries gained promotion back to the Premier League.

Just weeks into the new Premier League season, O’Neil, who is now 40 years of age, was put in caretaker charge of Bournemouth, picking up 13 points from a possible 33 before the World Cup break. That was enough to land him an 18-month contract as the permanent boss at the Vitality Stadium.

Despite being in charge of an underwhelming squad, O’Neil guided Bournemouth to Premier League safety last season, but the Cherries still decided to move on, likely because they had the opportunity to appoint impressive young former Rayo Vallecano boss Andoni Iraola.

What have Bournemouth said?

Bournemouth owner Bill Foley explained the decision to appoint Iraola over O’Neil by saying: “I believe we are going to be successful with Andoni, I really do. I don’t know LaLiga and I don’t know the coaches in LaLiga but our football staff have been aware of him.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“We were looking for a coach last fall and we went with Gary, we felt that stability was the best thing for us at the time. He was one of the coaches that rose to the top in terms of people that we were thinking about.

“We didn’t make formal contact last fall but the football side has kept in touch with him over the last six months or so. His contract ran out and he was available and receiving multiple offers from significant clubs. We just felt that if we were going to do something, now is the time to do it. Do it before pre-season, have a new coach come in with a new system and get a chance to work with the players.”

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.