Fran Alonso to manage Celtic Women after Lewes exit

Celtic's women will be full-time for the first time this season
Celtic's women will be full-time for the first time this season

Fran Alonso says he could not turn down the opportunity to become the new head coach of Celtic women's team.

The Spaniard, formerly Ronald Koeman's assistant at Everton and a technical coach at Southampton under Mauricio Pochettino, arrives from Lewes FC.

He spent 13 months with the Women's Championship club.

"When Celtic want you, you can't say no," he said. "Celtic is about passion, heart and soul, about the love of great attacking football."

Alonso, who had a spell as Southampton Women's technical director spent four years at the Premier League club, initially under Pochettino, before moving with Koeman to Everton in 2016.

He replaces Eddie Wolecki Black, who steered Celtic to successive third place finishes in the SWPL1 in his two seasons, with the former Glasgow City boss now head of the women's football department at Motherwell.

"I know the team are very together, focused on the future and focused on improving and committed to working hard to achieve our objectives," Alonso told the club website.

"I also know that Celtic has real ambition and purpose around its women's team and I wanted to be a major part of that."

Assistant Manager Simon Parker steps up to replace Alonso at Lewes.

'Top level experience & good contacts' - analysis

BBC Scotland's Heather Dewar

Celtic waited until after Eddie Wolecki Black gone to announce officially that they'd be going fully professional - a long-anticipated move announced with very little fanfare. However, Alonso's arrival is likely to garner plenty of attention.

Alonso will look to stamp his authority on the side - expect a Spanish emphasis on possession - before the season kicks off in February and he will start that process in Gran Canaria when the team head out there on a training camp this weekend.

With contacts around the world and a knowledge of the European market, the 42-year-old could help bring in some tasty signings to challenge the domination of Glasgow City.

Having worked under Pochettino, Koeman and Sam Allardyce, he should be a very interesting addition. As they say, it's not what you know, it's who you know.