Former Hibernian Ladies head coach Willie Kirk has been appointed the new manager of Bristol Academy.
The FA WSL 1 side moved quickly to replace Dave Edmondson who left the Vixens last week, with the club rooted to the bottom of the league after four league defeats.
Kirk said: “I am delighted to be offered the opportunity to manage Bristol Academy. I believe I can build on the foundations laid by Dave Edmondson and Bristol have enough money available for me during the next transfer window to strengthen the squad.
“The set-up is fantastic at Bristol, highly committed players, great supporters, generous sponsors, hardworking back office staff and talented coaches and I can’t wait to get going.”
“It’s a fantastic opportunity to coach in the WSL,” added Kirk who aims to impart his own ways on the side. “Every coach has got a different style, I am hoping to just put my own stamp on it and give the players an organization and yet hopefully a freedom within that to enjoy their football and do their own thing.”
His ultimate goal is to steer Bristol away from the relegation zone, with seventh place his aim, and it may help that he knows two of the players at the club already.
He continued: “I’ve spoken to the two Scottish girls that are down there, Frankie Brown who I had a Hibs and Christie Murray who I obviously know from being up here. I had a quick chat with them on Saturday night.”
After spending around five years at Hibs, Kirk quit the Edinburgh side to take up a role with the Scottish FA as High Performance manager at Heriot Watt University in 2014.
He added to his Scottish FA duties later that year, when he replaced David Bingham as Preston Athletic manager, but despite returning to the dugout with the Lowland League side the lure of the FA WSL was too hard to turn down.
Club chairman Simon Arnold, said: “Willie comes with a very good pedigree and was a front runner when we interviewed for the post in 2014. However he did not have an A Licence at that point which is a requirement in the WSL, so we offered the role to Dave Edmondson.
“Since then, Willie has finished his A Licence and has gained considerable experience with elite players in Scotland. We have stayed in touch with Willie during that time and we had no hesitation in approaching him when the role at Bristol arose. Willie came down to Bristol at the weekend and we are delighted that we were able to agree terms.”
Kirk will watch from the stands when Bristol take on Birmingham this Wednesday, with his first game in charge being a home tie against Arsenal on Saturday 9th May.
On the game against Arsenal, Kirk added: “It’s quite exciting when you start saying that your first game will be against Arsenal. And even after the summer break its Chelsea then Man City so its good. I am looking forward to it. It’s the sort of league that I think that teams have proven this year and last year if you get two or three results in a row you can quickly move up the table so that’s what we are going to need at some point this season. Hopefully get that sooner rather than later. Obviously it’s a tough start though.”