Fran Alonso could be set for a Celtic exit amid budget concerns. It is rumoured that he is tempted by a move to Mexican team Monterrey, whose boss recently traded his role in the dugout for one in the boardroom.
It was revealed during this year’s Celtic AGM that the club pulled in record profit in the last year. A concern of mine and many others, as a fan of the women’s side, was how much of that revenue was going to be spent on the girls. It seems as though we have our answer – and that it’s nothing good.
Alonso was appointed as the manager of Celtic Women in January 2020, and since arriving, he has won the Hoops silverware on three separate occasions. As mentioned by Alonso during the AGM, he really wants to win the Scottish Women’s Premier League. This season, he was in a good position to do so, before being knocked out of first place by theRangers after a derby loss in October. Because of this, we currently sit one point behind our city rivals.
It has always been a concern of mine that we would lose a class manager due to finances, but I knew it was a reality we may one day have to accept. The club don’t invest in the women’s side enough and that is something that concerns me. Of course, there are logistics and things to consider, but surely the board could do a little bit better at least.
If you’re interested in hearing a bit more about the financial future of women’s football, and Celtic FC Women, then the first episode of my new podcast is out now. For the episode, I get some insight from Rose Reilly, ex-professional footballer, and David McKinney, ex-reporter – so if you have the time, you can give it a listen….
Hopefully we’ll have some concrete information of Fran’s interest in the position in the coming days, but we can take some excitement from the fact that we’ll see him at least one more time in the dugout on Sunday against Spartans.
And if he does leave – I, as well as many other Celtic fans, will have no animosity towards him. He has taken our club to new heights and made us a force to be reckoned with in Scotland. Fran truly is the man for the job, but this day was always bound to come, I just didn’t think it could possibly be so soon.
Remember though – these are just rumours and neither Fran nor the club have said anything publicly at the moment.
Celtic Star Editor’s View
What we do know is that The Celtic Star in our comprehensive coverage of Celtic FC Women over the past three or four seasons has continually pointed out that Fran Alonso is operating with the THIRD biggest budget in the SPFL with both current Champions Glasgow City (funded by commercial investment bank funders) and the current SWPL 1 leaders theRangers operating with significantly higher budgets than Celtic.
Last winter Celtic lost Clarissa Larisey – the best player in the SWPL1 to Swedish side Hacken and Celtic received a record transfer fee for the Canadian forward. Then Jacynta left for Sporting Club in the summer while Tash Flint opted for Liverpool rather than Celtic in the summer.
Alonso wants to deliver the SWPL1 title but is operating with one hand behind his back. He has proved himself to be a brilliant operator in the transfer market yet has not been given the finds to push on from last season’s momentum.
The club have also let him down with their media coverage this season, including of course the dispute with The Celtic Star where the club took exception to a perfectly reasonable request to clarify the media rules that apply to the mens game were also supposed to be in operation with the women’s game. Celtic PR didn’t like that at all and Fran Alonso’s attempts at resolving this were frustrated.
Celtic FC Women are playing Spartans today yet there was no media conferences this week and this has not been the first time that this has happened this season.
Michael Nicholson could and should back Alonso and should show real intent in the January transfer window to sign the players that are needed to deliver the title. The money required is insignificant in the scheme of things and will get Champions League football via the significantly easier champions route.
For those of you who think that the club should not be spending money on women’s football then consider this. The Celtic FC Women’s team is actually self-funding via the commercial contracts and sponsorships that are in place.
Celtic are spending around £20m on the re-development of Barrowfield and the women’s team are going to be based there. The best way to make sure that is wise investment is to ensure that the team are Champions and we have the best manager possible and it’s hard to argue that is NOT Fran Alonso. Fran’s contract renewal has not been discussed and he’s now getting close to the end of his deal.
He has delivered silverware – the League Cup for the first time in a decade and the Scottish Cup for the first time ever, then he retained it. He came within a minute of winning the SWPL1 for the first time – theRangers deciding to remove all defenders in the closing stages of the last game as they ‘chased a goal’ allowed Glasgow City to score and take the title away from Celtic.
Yet a week later Celtic dominated theRangers in the Scottish Cup Final and have shown themselves to be much better than Glasgow City last season and this one too. However theRangers brought in a decent coach in the summer and look to have a stronger squad than Celtic now, after our team was weakened in the summer. Alonso was left playing academy kids alongside stalwarts in the record Glasgow Derby defeat to theRangers (the only points Alonso’s side has dropped all season). The alarm bells though were sounded on here because they looked a much stronger and better team than Celtic – a remarkable turnaround since May and for a relatively tiny additional investment.
Michael Nicholson should sort this out, get Fran Alonso signed up on a new and improved deal and invest a few hundred grand extra in the January window. Otherwise is backwards from here.
Jessica Elliott and Celtic Star Editor
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