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Chris Coleman shows Fulham the way

last updated Saturday 09th August 2003, 9:54 AM
Fulham's Chris Coleman is looking forward, if a little nervously, to facing his first full season in management but the friendly atmosphere pervading the club's training ground in Motspur Park yesterday suggested the likeable Welshman has already lifted the spirits of a club many thought had burned too brightly.

Fulham Manager Chris Coleman never slow to show the way
Fulham Manager Chris Coleman never slow to show the way
The exponential rise from Division Two to the Premiership after the heavy investment of Mohamed Fayed in May 1997 was countered by the ensuing failure to redevelop Craven Cottage, ground-sharing at Queens Park Rangers' Loftus Road, and a crippling financial situation.

But since the departure of Jean Tigana and his well-meaning direction of technical artistry, Coleman, 33, has tried to imbue the fighting spirit he embodied as captain of the club in the lower divisions. Yesterday he reminded critics how far the club had come despite the rise in expectation since Fayed's takeover.

"People get carried away," he said. "We're not one of the big six and we've come a long way in a short space of time. People forget we were scrapping in the Second Division a few seasons ago.

"A big, dark picture has been painted of our future but that's not the way I see it. There's talk of relegation and me getting the sack after five games. I'm young and inexperienced and it may turn out that way but I'm excited, there's a great spirit in the squad and we'll just have to shut people up by winning.

"I know we have too many gifted players not to have frills but we need to be tougher and play harder when we don't have the ball."

Coleman's reaction to midfielder Sean Davis's transfer request on Thursday shows his commitment to his role.

"Sean's under contract for two more years," he said. "So if I can get someone in, he'll go, but if I can't, he'll stay.

"If he does decide to move on it will be for the good of Fulham Football Club and when we're ready."

The fantastic events being played out at neighbours Chelsea has only solidified Fulham support, according to an inside source, who also said there had never been a better atmosphere between staff and players at the club.
Source Daily Telegraph by Charlie Norton
Since 1998
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