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Dublin: 2°C Wednesday 14 April 2021

Portuguese coach named as first team manager as Athlone Town attempt to clear up confusion

Ricardo Monsanto has been handed the reins while Colin Fortune will stay on as head coach.

Athlone Town Stadium.
Athlone Town Stadium.

ATHLONE TOWN HAVE officially appointed Ricardo Monsanto as manager of their first team.

It is only three months since the SSE Airtricity League First Division club gave the job permanently to Colin Fortune — who became caretaker boss when Alan Mathews left last June — but the cash-strapped outfit have since received financial backing from an overseas investor.

Several new players have arrived from abroad as have three Portuguese coaches including Monsanto, while French agent Marc Fourmeaux is now a club director. With the additional backroom staff on-board, there has been some confusion over who is actually in control of managerial duties.

But, in a statement, the Midlanders have announced that Monsanto has been handed the reins with the replaced Fortune staying on as head coach.

“The club is delighted to confirm that respected Portuguese coach Ricardo Monsanto has been appointed as first team manager,” it reads.

“Ricardo is the holder of a Uefa A license, awarded to him by the Portuguese Football Association.

“Colin Fortune has assumed a new role of head coach and will continue to provide the sterling service he has given Athlone Town AFC on and off the field over many years.

“Coaches Ricardo Cravo, also from Portugal, and Gavin Drummond are also on board and will play their part as part of the backroom team.”

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While moving to clarify the situation, Athlone added that the new structure has been a success so far.

“The changes take effect from Thursday, 9 March, however it is important to note that the coaching staff have been working well together since the start of the season.

To date this coaching structure has greatly aided the blending in of the first team squad’s locally based players with those who have come in from Europe.

“The changes have been brought about as part of the club’s on going efforts to improve results and player performance on the field of play.”

Athlone, who are joint-top of the First Division having won their opening two league games, face Longford Town at home tonight (7.45pm).

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