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LONDON City Lionesses have named Lisa Fallon as first-team head coach, with Melissa Phillips taking over the role of assistant coach.
The Women’s Championship side formed last summer, breaking away from Millwall Lionesses, and were fourth in the league when the season ended earlier this week — 14 points off leaders Aston Villa.
Former manager Chris Phillips was sacked six games into the season, despite winning four, with head of player development John Bayer taking over in the interim.
With the season now over, London City moved swiftly to hire Fallon, who had been working on Chelsea’s women’s team technical coaching staff.
On her appointment, Fallon said she was attracted to the club’s ambition and promised to take this “attacking team” forward once the new season kicks off.
She said: “This is a seminal moment in my career and an extremely proud day for me and everyone who has helped me through my career to-date.
“I would like to thank Diane and the board for giving me this opportunity. I was drawn to the ambition of the club and board — together I am sure that we will take this club forward. The squad is exciting with lots of potential and we are all looking forward to getting back out on the grass and back to training.
“Finally, and most importantly, I would like to talk directly to the supporters — we’ll be a hard-working, attacking team that will continue to make you proud.”
Having worked as part of Cork City FC’s men’s side coaching staff, helping them win the Irish Premier Division, as well as coaching Northern Ireland’s men’s national team, London City Lionesses chair Diane Culligan said Fallon was the “outstanding choice.”
“Following an extremely thorough search for our new head coach it was obvious to us that Lisa was the outstanding choice — we are absolutely thrilled that she is joining us,” said Culligan. “Lisa has an excellent pedigree in football, not only in the women’s game but the men’s too, and I consider the Lionesses very fortunate to have someone with her knowledge, experience and integrity leading us.
“We all have high hopes for a wonderful season ahead, when it returns.”
Phillips joins London City Lionesses from University of Pennsylvania’s coaching programme in the United States, where she spent five years as their assistant.
She was also the University of San Francisco’s assistant and the head coach of the California State University Bakersfield women’s side.
“I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to be joining the London City Lionesses,” she said. “I watched their progress from afar last season and can see that the team is a very talented one.
“The vision, values and culture of the club are compelling to me. The club’s outlook, coupled with a sustained growth in the women’s game in the UK over several years now, is what drew me across the pond. I am looking forward to supporting Lisa and the Lionesses squad in fulfilling our ambitions.”
Departing interim head coach Bayer thanked the club for supporting him during the last season.
He said: “As my interim role as caretaker manager has come to its natural conclusion, I would like to wish the London City Lionesses every success in the future. I will be following the club’s fortunes with great interest and specifically would like to place on record my support for the new coaching team — who I hope have a long and successful career with the club.”
Culligan added: “First and foremost, John is a gentleman and consummate professional who will always be welcomed back warmly at our club. John has been an excellent caretaker manager and someone that I would always seek counsel from, such is his huge experience in the game.
“On behalf of everyone at the club, I would like to wish John well for the future and look forward to seeing him at our games at Prince’s Park next season.”
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