FORMER Celtic star Didier Agathe has made a surprise move into management with Durham City.
The one-time pacy winger, brought to the Hoops by Martin O’Neill from Hibs for a cut-price £250,000 in September 2000, will take care of the first team squad and the Northern League club’s academy.
Agathe, 44, speaking to the Sunderland Echo, said: “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.”
Agathe made over 120 appearances for the Hoops and was in the line-up that lost 3-2 in extra-time in the UEFA Cup Final against Jose Mourinho’s Porto in Seville in 2003.
He left Parkhead in 2006 to hook up again with O’Neill at Aston Villa, but made only a handful appearances 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.
Durham director of football John Woolnough believes the arrival of Agathe, who also had a spell at Raith Rovers, will help turn around the fortunes of the club.
He added: “This is a fantastic appointment. 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.”