Fran Kirby praises ‘serious’ club Brighton after signing on free transfer

Fran Kirby applauds fans prior to kick off of the UEFA Women's Euro 2022 final match between England and Germany
Fran Kirby applauds fans prior to kick off of the UEFA Women's Euro 2022 final match between England and Germany on July 31, 2022 (Photo by Harriet Lander/Getty Images)

Brighton and Hove Albion have confirmed the signing of former Chelsea attacker Fran Kirby in a sensational summer transfer swoop.

The 31-year-old Lioness left Kingsmeadow after an iconic nine year tenure in May. She has reportedly signed a three-year deal with the South Coast club, according to Kathryn Batte. Kirby joins the Seagulls as a free agent, following her emotional departure from Chelsea after the expiration of her contract.

Statement signing Kirby

The signing of Kirby is a huge statement for a side who finished ninth in the Women’s Super League last season. She arrives with an impressive honours count, including seven WSL titles, five FA Cups and of course, the European Championship with England in 2022.

Having been linked with other WSL clubs, including Tottenham and newly promoted Crystal Palace, the 72-time capped Lioness spoke of her decision to make the move to Brighton over others.

“You can see why so many players choose to play for Brighton. I don’t think I’ve ever seen, in the women’s game, such amazing facilities,” Kirby told The Guardian. She went on to describe how the club’s state-of-the-art training facilities were the ‘green light’ for her to sign.

There was also praise for owner Tony Bloom and chief executive Paul Barber. Kirby said: “Hearing that they’re fully behind the women’s team was definitely a marker for me to say, ‘yeah, okay, this is a serious women’s football club and they want to be taken seriously.'”

Managing director of women’s and girl’s football Zoe Johnson also highlighted the importance of Kirby’s signing.

“Her experience on the pitch will be just as important off it and we have no doubt that she will help us take a significant step towards our long-term targets,” she told the club website.

Having endured a torrid past 18 months, which has seen four different managers fill the hot seat in either an Interim or permanent capacity, Brighton will be hoping the signing of Kirby will prove to be a catalyst for the club to at last fulfil a potential which has already borne fruit within the men’s setup.

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