Eddie Howe has left Bournemouth by mutual consent, saying it is time for the club to move in a new direction after eight years under his management.
Howe’s association with Bournemouth dates back 25 years and he has been the most instrumental figure in their rise through the leagues over the last decade.
The 42-year-old made no secret of the emotional strain he was under during the club’s unsuccessful battle against relegation and he described the decision to leave as one of the most difficult of his life.
In an open letter to the club’s fans, Howe wrote: "Having spent a total of 25 years with the club as both a player and a manager, this decision - made together with the club - is one of the hardest I've ever had to make.
"However, 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. Bournemouth will always be in my heart, but I firmly believe now is the right time for the club to have a change."
Howe was unable to guide Bournemouth out of the relegation zone on the final day of the Premier League weekend, despite a victory at Everton.
Writing directly to the club’s supporters, he said: “Words will never be able to do true justice to the connection and feeling I have towards you all.
“It is for that reason that I have found the last few days particularly difficult given we were unable to share the last part of this season together and, in particular, the painful experience of last Sunday. I know how much you are all hurting, and I’m hurting with you.
"I will never forget the fantastic affection you have always shown to me and my family during my time at Bournemouth. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
“You helped the club survive in its darkest hour and deserve every success. I now join you as a Bournemouth supporter and will be willing the club on in what I am sure will be a successful future.”
Howe’s departure will make the post-relegation rebuild even more of a challenge for Bournemouth, given his importance to the club as a whole. It comes two days after they accepted a £40 million bid from Manchester City for key defender Nathan Ake.