The Football Association of Wales (FAW) announced the appointment of Chris Coleman as their new national manager, at a press conference held on the morning of Thursday 19th January 2012.
FAW appointed Coleman following the death of former manager, 42 year old Gary Speed, in November 2011.
Speaking on his appointment – and the tragic circumstances which surround it – Coleman said:
“The only way we can put smiles on fans faces again is to continue to win matches but I’ll don’t think we’ll ever get over the loss of Gary.”
“I think for any manager who was going to come in it was going to be difficult because of the situation and it’s more difficult for me with my relationship with Gary.”
“I am excited but I am subdued because of the circumstances, it’s not going to be easy but it’s something I’m prepared for.”
“On one hand it is the proudest moment of my career but on the other hand, with the circumstances I was very close friends with Gary for 30 years.”
“It is the most difficult press conference I am ever likely to do.”
Coleman, the former Fulham FC manager, had been managing Greek club Larissa, until resigning in early January. He had been with the club since May 2011. Prior to that, Coleman had taken a year out of management, after finishing a two and a half year stint with Coventry City, which ended following his dismissal in May 2010.
Coleman had enjoyed great success before joining Coventry, with Fulham, when he got the club to its best ever Premier League finish, in 9th, before he was sacked in 2007 after a string of poor performances. After leaving Fulham, Coleman’s stint at Real Sociedad, in Spain, was beginning to yield results when he opted to resign following the election of Inaki Badiola to president of the club, in January 2008, after which he joined Coventry.
The FAW appointment will mark the first time Chris Coleman has attempted to take on the different responsibilities of national team management in football.
Welsh fans will be hoping Coleman can continue the good foundations laid down by Gary Speed’s Wales, who were the highest risers in FIFA rankings during 2011.