Profiling Chris Coleman

Is white smoke starting to appear in the search for the next FAI senior men’s manager? Given weekend media reports, Chris Coleman has started to emerge as the frontrunner to take over from Stephen Kenny in the job.

Who is Chris Coleman and what would he bring to the table as potential Republic of Ireland new senior’s men manager. Hawkeye Sidekick takes up the narrative.

Who is Chris Coleman?

Chris Coleman was born in Swansea, Wales on June 10th 1970. His early playing career saw Coleman sign for Manchester City as a youngster until he returned to Swansea City where he played 200+ games for Swansea before departing for Crystal Palace in 1991.

Palace under Steve Coppell played Coleman as a centre back but also centre forward when the need arose. Coleman played 154 appearances scoring 13 goals in the process before making a 2.8 million move to Blackburn Rovers in 1995. Coleman’s impact at Selhurst Park seen to full effect with the player named in the Centenary XV.

Blackburn Rovers were coming off the back of their EPL championship title. Coleman struggled to make an impact at the club given persistent injury. Coleman moved down the divisions to join the ambitious Fulham financed by Mohamed Al-Fayed who splashed the cash for success.

Kevin Keegan led the side under Coleman’s captaincy to the first division title. Jean Tigana then came to the club to secure EPL promotion but Coleman’s playing career was cut short due to a crash in January 2001. Coleman attempted to make a comeback but the injury was too much with official playing retirement confirmed in October 2022.

Fulham though saw the leadership skills in Coleman who was retained as a coach. A shrewd move from the West London club long-term.

Coleman played for Wales between 1992-2002. He won 32 international caps scoring 4 goals in the process. A player whose game reading stood out along with his pace a key attribute in commanding performances during an excellent playing career.

Club Managerial Career

Chris Coleman has had several managerial appointments. Fulham called upon Coleman in April 2003 to prevent relegation after Jean Tigana was relieved of his duties. Fulham secured their EPL status and Coleman surpassed expectations in his first full season as Fulham finished ninth in the league.

Fulham though struggled thereafter as key players were sold on. Edwin van der Sar, Luis Boa Morte and Louis Saha were not replaced with adequate replacements. Coleman was sacked in April 2007 after a run of seven games without a win leaving the club just above the bottom three.

Real Sociedad came calling in July 4th 2007 for Coleman’s services. John Toshack recommended Coleman to the Real Sociedad board. A decent opening to his managerial tenure but there were differences of opinion between Coleman and the board on the vision of the club. Coleman finally departed in January 2008 with the club in fifth place in Segunda Division.

AEL was a strange move for Coleman. It was a short and turbulent time with the Greek club given the financial plight of the club. Coleman departed AEL after only seven months in charge in January 2012. That continued with Sunderland in 2017 when Coleman replaced Simon Grayson at the football club.

Sunderland at the time were in transition as the club owner Ellis Short was in the process of selling the club on. No funds would be provided to Coleman in January 2018 to strengthen the squad. Relegation was confirmed in April 2018 and Coleman was dismissed in April 2018 following the sale of the club.

Heibei China Fortune was another difficult assignment. Coleman replaced Manuel Pellegrini in 2018 with Pellegrini deciding to move back to manage West Ham United. A side with Javier Mascherano in the ranks, the club finished the 2018 season in sixth place and missed out on Asian Champions League qualification.

The following season was a disastrous one as the side struggled for results. A nine game winless streak signalled the end for Coleman. Yet another managerial assignment with proved severely problematic. Atromitos FC two year tenure saw the club finish twelfth in the league 2021-22.

International Managerial Career

Wales FA issued the call to Coleman in January 2012 after the untimely death of Gary Speed. It was a difficult start for Coleman in the new role losing his first five international games. A 6-1 away loss to Serbia in Novi Sad was a low point.

Wales though started to build performances thereafter. A 2-1 home win to Scotland in October 2012 was a foundation which the side evolved with Gareth Bale the fulcrum. Coleman had guided Wales to eighth in the FIFA World Rankings in 2015.

Coleman and Wales were now on a crest of a wave. Euro 2016 qualification was confirmed in October 2015 and marked the first time that Wales had reached a major soccer tournament since 1958. An epic tournament unfolded for Wales as they beat Northern Ireland and Belgium to reach the semi-finals.

Portugal would have too much for Wales but the achievement was magnificent. One presumed Wales would continue their upward projection but the World Cup 2018 qualification was marred by inconsistencies. Republic of Ireland loss at home in Cardiff condemned Wales to an early exit.

Coleman who had signed a two year contract after the Euro 2016 campaign resigned from his post. A big disappointment for the nation and the manager given the talent at Coleman’s disposal.


Chris Coleman has had a mixed managerial career. Some of the managerial assignments looked risky in Greece and China but Coleman cannot be accused of shirking a challenge.

His Fulham tenure was good with his side playing attractive football. Malbranque came to the fore in Coleman’s tenure. Coleman’s Sunderland tenure was restricted given the board anarchy at play. With no funds, Coleman struggled with a squad who were exposed in the EPL before his arrival.

The Welsh appointment showed Coleman’s resiliency. The first five games of his tenure were quite disappointing. A side at a low ebb, lacking confidence. The Serbia loss was a low point but Coleman and backroom staff were able to distil belief in a playing core coming to their full potential. A Welsh side loaded with talent. Bale was the crown jewel and results started to turn.

The 2018 qualification campaign is a noteworthy event. There was a hangover from the immense Euros 2016 tournament accomplishments. The side dipped in this campaign, lacked the performance consistency to get out of a group which they would have seen as an attainable. Coleman unable to inspire his side.

Given the FAI financial constraints, it remains to be seen who is actually a viable managerial contender. The appointment process has now dragged on for long enough.

Lee Carsley was courted but looks to be playing the long game to what may happen with England and Gareth Southgate this summer. Neil Lennon was linked but that has cooled given initial public reaction.

Chris Coleman as a player and manager likes to play football on the deck. He would fit the FAI vision mantra that was provided by Stephen Kenny. Coleman though needs to be provide pragmatism if given the role to inject an upturn in the senior side’s fortunes given wretched recent qualification campaigns.

Coleman as a centre back as a player will look to address the glaring lapses in this unit. Nathan Collins, Dara O’Shea amongst others would welcome Coleman’s advice.

Coleman is a candidate worth consideration. He brings vast global managerial experience (some good, some bad) but a manager with a point to prove which implies that Coleman would leave no stone unturned in the job if offered it. It is a gamble for both parties.

Chris Coleman has been quickly dismissed by some certain fan quarters but the FAI are running out of options to succeed Stephen Kenny. Time is running out given the March friendlies and then the important June friendlies which would be used by a new manager to bed in his philosophy to the squad. Time will tell.

If Chris Coleman is given the role, you need to give the man a chance. Stephen Kenny tried and failed. Others have no doubt run away from the role. If Coleman has thrown his hat in the ring, FAI know that this is a man who has the perseverance, experience and drive to succeed in the role.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *