Wigan Athletic Football Club have confirmed the appointment of Kolo Touré as the Club’s new First Team Manager.
The appointment makes the Ivorian the first African to manage a senior men’s football team in England.
Wigan disclosed that Touré is arriving at the Club on a three-and-a-half-year deal from Leicester City, where he was operating as First Team Coach as part of Brendan Rodgers’ coaching staff.
The club said that having played under and learnt from elite managers throughout his career the likes of Arsène Wenger, Roberto Mancini, Jürgen Klopp and Brendan Rodgers – as well as years of top-flight, European and International coaching experience – Touré will now focus on his own managerial career at First Team level.
Also arriving at Latics will be Kevin Betsy and Ashvir Johal, with both joining the backroom coaching staff at the Football Club that includes Rob Kelly – who has agreed to continue in his role as Assistant Manager.
Starting his career at Ivorian club ASEC Mimosas in 1999, the former central defender had an illustrious playing career with Arsenal, Manchester City, Liverpool and Celtic FC all on his footballing resume, as well as 120 caps for his native Ivory Coast.
Touré made more than 500 senior appearances over a 15-year period, with an honours list that includes two Premier League titles – one as an Arsenal ‘Invincible’, two FA Cups, two Scottish Premiership titles, as well as success on the international stage with an African Cup of Nations back in 2015.
Wigan also confirmed that James Beattie has left the Football Club with immediate effect, with the Board thanking him for being instrumental in the Club’s promotion last season.
Touré’s first game in charge of Wigan Athletic will be away at The Den, taking on Millwall on Saturday 10 December.
Revealing reasons for Kolo’s appointment, Chief Executive Malachy Brannigan said:
“We are delighted that Kolo has become the new manager of Wigan Athletic Football Club, and the Board are pleased that he is the man to take us forward.
“We received a high calibre of applicants for the manager’s job in recent weeks, in a very thorough recruitment process as we looked to appoint the right person for the role.
“From the earliest of conversations we had with Kolo, it was evident to us that he had instantly bought into the values of the Club – with his enthusiasm, knowledge and immense desire to work and be part of Wigan Athletic shining throughout the process.
“There is no doubt that this appointment is an exciting one for the Football Club. Kolo is a manager who wants to play a positive brand of football and will strive every day to make the Club stronger.
“The work starts immediately with the first team squad, as the season is just a couple of weeks away from restarting.
“As a Board of Directors, we look forward to working closely with Kolo and his team as the work begins collectively to establish Wigan Athletic as a Championship Club.
“I am sure that all Latics supporters will get behind the appointment of Kolo Touré, give their backing to the staff and the players, as the Football Club begins a new, exciting era – starting at Millwall on December 10th.”
Commenting on his appointment as Wigan Athletic Manager, Kolo Touré said:
“I would like to thank all of the fans, players and staff of Leicester City Football Club, Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha, Susan Whelan, Jon Rudkin and of course Brendan Rodgers for making me feel so welcome for so many years.
“The experiences that I have amassed under Brendan Rodgers have been invaluable and I’m sure they will help me in this next chapter of my career.
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“I am extremely proud to be named Manager of Wigan Athletic. Wigan Athletic is a big club with hugely passionate fans. Together, we can continue to make the right steps forward.
“I’m excited to work with this talented group of players and staff, and immensely look forward to my time ahead.”