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Coleman and Dowie enjoy punch-up

last updated Monday 16th October 2006, 10:54 AM
Chris Coleman
Chris Coleman

Fulham boss Chris Coleman has revealed how his friendship with Iain Dowie was borne out of their on-field rivalry as he prepares for another battle with his Charlton counterpart on Monday night.

Coleman and Dowie became close during their time at Crystal Palace, when they were room-mates on away trips, but they met several times before that as adversaries.

It was a tussle between defender and striker that often left Coleman battered and bruised - but it gave the former Wales centre-back an early insight into Dowie's character.

"Our friendship was born out of respect," Coleman explained.


"If I was playing against Iain and I hadn't come off after 90 minutes without a black eye, a cut on my head or stitches, then it had been a good day for me.

"I respected him for what he was - a tough bugger, wholehearted and honest. As soon as he joined Palace, we got on like a house on fire."

The dust-ups even continued when Coleman and Dowie became team-mates at Selhurst Park, with two strong characters not afraid to make their presence felt.

"We had a couple of decent run-ins. I'm sure Iain will tell you he came out worse off! But that's the nature of the game," said Coleman.

Iain Dowie
Iain Dowie

"One time at Palace, we were struggling in the Premiership - and there was a fight every week anyway because it was a tough dressing room - and we lost 2-0 somewhere.

"The defenders were blaming the strikers for scoring and the strikers were blaming the defenders for conceding two goals. I blamed Iain and he blamed me.

"In his wisdom, (manager) Alan Smith put us on opposite teams at five-a-side the following day, which wasn't one of his smartest moves.

"But Alan invited that sometimes because we were a young team. He liked people to air their views - and he certainly had two that were prepared to do that in Iain and myself."

Tensions will mount once again on Monday night when midtable Fulham meet a Charlton side with just one win from their opening seven games.

Dowie has endured a dismal start to his Addicks career and is desperate for victory at Craven Cottage amid talk of a dressing-room rift and a morale-boosting exercise that went wrong.

But Coleman insists Dowie's plight, and their friendship, will count for nothing when they lock horns once again and expects a few heated exchanges on the touchline.

"I want a win on Monday night and, if that means there's more pressure on Iain and Charlton, I won't lose any sleep over it. It won't affect my friendship with him," Coleman said.

"I can't see beyond getting three points and what any relationship will be after the game. I'll be amazed if Monday night comes and we don't have a few words over the 90 minutes.

"We normally do. We'd been training before as players when we came to blows. We had to be pulled apart. But we'd always shake hands afterwards and have a beer.

"We were two passionate football players and now we're two passionate managers."






Source Duncan Bech at PA Sport
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