1 users online


Coleman says he is ready

last updated Thursday 15th May 2003, 8:55 PM
Chris Coleman's appointment as Fulham manager was today hailed as the choice of players and fans.

The 32-year-old became the Premiership's youngest manager when he was appointed on a 12-month rolling contract today and he said: "I am ready. People might say I should wait a couple of years, but if I did that I still might get the sack after six months so what is the point. I want to do it now and I am ready for it.

Fulham Manager Chris Coleman
Fulham Manager Chris Coleman
Chris Coleman Stories
"I have shown in the last five games that I have an idea about the job and I played for 15 years at a good level and under some terrific managers. None better than Jean Tigana."

The Welshman, who steered Fulham to safety at the end of the season as caretaker manager by securing 10 points from a possible 15, was not the favourite for the job initially. Fulham looked at leading European coaches such as Louis van Gaal and Klaus Toppmoller but with Coleman being popular among Fulham fans and players, the club were prepared to bend on their criteria for a manager with top level experience.

He is believed to be on a contract worth around £750,000 a year - a big saving from the £2m annual salary earned by Frenchman Tigana.

Today's appointment represents a remarkable turnaround for former Wales, Swansea, Crystal Palace, Blackburn and Fulham defender Coleman. He was badly injured in a car crash in January 2001 and was lucky to escape the mangled wreck alive.

After a determined 21-month battle to overcome a series of serious leg injuries, he was forced to admit defeat and retire from the game in October last year. He is now relishing the challenge ahead. He said: "I am delighted to be given the chance to succeed Jean Tigana and cannot wait to get stuck into the job. At the start as caretaker, I was going into unknown territory and did not know what to expect.

"I did not realise I would enjoy it as much as I did or get the reaction I did from everybody, particularly the players. The longer it went on the more I realised how hard it would be to give it up without a fight."

Coleman's assistant will be Fulham's former reserve team manager and academy director Steve Kean, who is also on a 12-month rolling deal.

Chairman Mohamed Fayed said: "I had every faith that Chris could take on the mantle of caretaker manager for me at the end of the season.

"During that time I witnessed him grow in stature and, after the success that he achieved, I do not believe that anyone would be better equipped to take this club forward."

Midfielder John Collins claims he is the players' choice.

He said: "I think the squad will be delighted. He knows the players' strengths and weaknesses and I think most of them will be happy to have him carry on."
Source Evening Standard by Leo Spall
Since 1998
"It's been updated!"