Former Celtic star Didier Agathe has been named as new manager of Northern League Division Two club Durham City.
The 44-year-old made over 120 appearances for the Scottish giants during a six-year stay at Parkhead and he featured in several famous Champions League wins when the club was managed by Martin O’Neill.
Agathe was also in the Hoops line-up that fell to a 3-2 defeat against a Porto side managed by Jose Mourinho in the UEFA Cup Final in 2003.
He made a handful of appearances in the Premier League with Aston Villa following his departure from Celtic in 2006 and brought down the curtain on his playing career with Reunion Island club JS Saint-Pierroise.
Since announcing his retirement in 2010, Agathe set up an academy for young footballers on the island and his surprise move to Durham City will see him managing the club’s first team and newly formed academy.
Speaking of his appointment, Agathe told the Sunderland Echo: “It’s a great challenge and a great club. This is a really exciting project to be involved in.
“The club is looking to build on and off the pitch and I’m really looking forward to playing a big part in this journey.
“I’m really excited about this role. I’ve been coaching since my retirement, working with my Academy for over 10 years and I’m excited to transfer my knowledge and experience to build a fantastic academy for Durham City.
“I’m looking to build something here based on discipline, commitment and hard work.
“I want to build an exciting team that will win games and bring back the fans to Durham.
“There are good players here, we are in the process of adding some players to complement the current squad and I can’t wait to get working with them.”
Although there is uncertainty over when Northern League clubs will be able to return to competitive action, Durham are determined to press on with their plans to revitalise the club after a challenging period in their history.
The two-time Northern League champions spent the majority of this season at the wrong end of the Division Two table and claimed just two wins from their 26 league games before the coronavirus epidemic brought a premature end to the campaign.
However, the club are hopeful that the appointment of Agathe can reignite their fortunes and director of football John Woolnough believes that the move can “catapult the club forward”.
He said: This is a fantastic appointment for Durham City.
“Didier is a very well-regarded coach and will help to catapult the club forward.
“We’ve spoken a lot already about the priorities and I think we’re both very forward thinking and open minded and it should be a good positive relationship.”
Chairman Gary Hutchison added “The club would like to thank Director of Football John Woolnough for his efforts in this appointment.
“It’s been a great effort to get this over the line and I would like to thank everyone for their patience.
“I am hoping this appointment will move the club to the next level and beyond, it’s not going to happen overnight but believe it’s a big step in the right direction.”