Christopher Patrick "Chris" Coleman (born 10 June 1970 in Swansea, Glamorgan) is a Welsh football manager and former player. He is currently the manager of Coventry City.
As a player, he usually played in defence while also occasionally appearing as a forward. His most significant achievements in the sport include winning 32 caps for Wales and attaining a respectable ninth place finish in the Premier League as the manager of Fulham, who had been tipped for relegation, in 2004. Coleman was manager of Real Sociedad after managing Fulham but resigned in January 2008, citing differences with the incoming president. He took up the post of Coventry City back in England in February 2008.
Coleman was born in Swansea.The first professional team he was contracted to was Manchester City
, aged 16, although he later left them to join Swansea City
Coleman made his first professional appearance for Swansea aged 17, in 1987. He made nearly 200 appearances for the south Wales club.
After spending four years with his hometown club, Crystal Palace
signed Coleman for a transfer fee set by a Football League tribunal at around a quarter of a million pounds
, plus a percentage of any future sale. After making 143 appearances, scoring 16 goals in that period – a 1 in 9 record explained by the fact that manager Steve Coppell
often used Coleman as a makeshift centre forward – he moved to Blackburn Rovers
. The major lowlight of this period was relegation from the Premiership, but he did obtain his first cap for Wales while contracted to Palace.
In 2005, Palace supporters voted Coleman into their Centenary XI.
Coleman joined Premier League
champions Blackburn for a fee of £2.8 million. Blackburn lost the Premiership title they had won in 1995
, and finished seventh. Coleman made 28 Premier League appearances over his season-and-a-half at the club, and when he found himself out of the starting line-up too often (not helped by a persistent Achilles
injury), he took the gamble to further his career by dropping two divisions to join Fulham.
, at the time in the Second Division
, were financed by wealthy businessman Mohamed Al-Fayed
, and were able to spend a record transfer fee for the division of over £2 million for Coleman in late 1997. He quickly became club captain, and led Fulham to promotion under manager Kevin Keegan
to the First Division
He remained captain and a regular in the team under new manager Jean Tigana in the 2000–01 season as Fulham made a successful start to the campaign. However, Coleman's career was ended midway through the season after he broke his leg in a car crash in Surrey in January 2001 – just days before an FA Cup tie against Manchester United. He never recovered from this injury despite playing a reserve fixture in March 2002, a game that only served as an indication that he would never again play at the highest level of English football.
Coleman joined Fulham's coaching staff in October 2002 under Tigana. He later succeeded the Frenchman as caretaker manager in April 2003, and steered Fulham away from relegation danger. He was named as Fulham's permament manager in May 2003, beating the more experienced Klaus Toppmöller
and George Burley
to the post, and also became the youngest manager in the Premier League.
His first full season in charge saw Fulham finish a surprise ninth place, as many pundits tipped them to struggle and for Coleman to be sacked. Many of Fulham's key players, such as Edwin van der Sar, Louis Saha, Steed Malbranque and Luis Boa Morte, were sold in the following years and Fulham didn't repeat their earlier successes under Coleman though he kept them clear of relegation. He was sacked in April 2007, when Fulham went on a seven game winless run.
Coleman moved abroad to manage recently relegated Segunda División
side Real Sociedad
in June 2007 after being recommended to the club by fellow Welshman and former Real Sociedad manager John Toshack
. He was linked with Bolton Wanderers
in October 2007
though nothing came of it. Coleman resigned as manager on 16 January 2008
, citing a divergence in vision for the club with newly elected President Inaki Badiola
Coleman was appointed manager of Championship
side Coventry City
on 19 February 2008
, signing a three and a half year contract. He replaced Iain Dowie
, who had been sacked by new owner Ray Ranson
On Tuesday 26 August 2008, the BBC reported that Chris Coleman was no longer interested in the international success of Wales. He later refuted the allegation, however, telling BBC Radio Wales' Sportstime programme, "I've got to get him [Eastwood] fit for Coventry first and foremost, that's my job. When he is fit, I'd drive him down the motorway myself if I had to for him to play for Wales. I've played for Wales myself and I preferred playing for my country than any club I've played for."
"I can promise you that I love Wales, I'm very patriotic and that will never change.