Former Celtic forward Gary Hooper has completed a move to the other side of the world – signing for A-League side Wellington Phoenix.
The 31-year-old had been without a club since leaving Sheffield Wednesday at the end of last season. Earlier in the week we told you how Hooper’s move to Iranian top-flight side Esteghlal had fallen through at the last minute. Now it seems that he hasn’t wasted much time in finding his next option, signing for the New Zealand outfit who play in the top-flight of Australian football.
Hooper has signed a “one season marquee deal” and is expected to make his debut the week after next when Phoenix face Perth Glory.
Hooper gets hyped up by Wellington Phoenix figure
The former Celtic hero has been given the big build up at his new club too – as he was described as “arguably the most impressive” signing the club has ever made by chief executive David Dome.
“It’s been no secret that we’ve been searching incredibly hard for a striker this season,” Dome told Aussie outlet The World Game.
“We’re extremely pleased to sign someone of the highest calibre in Gary Hooper. His CV is, on paper, arguably the most impressive of any Wellington Phoenix player to date and I have no doubt he’ll contribute.
“I’m sure that football fans across New Zealand and Australia will be thrilled to see a player like Gary in action for Wellington.”
Hooper’s new side are bottom of the A-League table after an opening day defeat to Scott McDonald’s Western United. It will be interesting to see whether the former Celtic number 88 can recapture a bit of form in a career that has struggled badly since he left Glasgow in 2013.
“I’m happy to be here in Wellington,” Hooper said. “It’s a new challenge for me and I’m really excited about being part of the Wellington Phoenix club.”