Thursday, 19 January 2012

Good Luck Chris Coleman

So today the worst secret in British football became public knowledge.

For a good week or so now it has been abundantly clear that the FAW were looking to appoint Chris Coleman as the next Welsh football manager.

There have been murmurings of discontent at his apparent choice. Most notably from Welsh Captain Aaron Ramsey. But the concerns that Coleman will shake up a settled backroom staff has been calmed by his insistence that he will work alongside those who were there before.

Gary Speed
It's this 'before' that is understandably causing so much angst for all involved. The FAW found themselves in the near impossible position of trying to find a way forward in the aftermath of Gary Speed's shock, sudden death as I posted about at the time at the end of November.

With the national team on the up and with a new cast of young up-and-coming, aspiring new players beginning to make their international mark, the blow of Gary's death was doubly felt. So much potential but suddenly, a shock to the system that now required a careful and compassionate transition to a new management team.

It is an unenviable task in the circumstances.

I would normally comment about the alternative candidates for the job and whether the choice made by the powers that be was a wise one. I certainly didn't hold back on my opinions when by beloved Aston Villa chose Alex McLeish as manager back in the summer.

So I could mention the only other name that had shown interest in the role, the ever-popular John Hartson. Popular with the players but lacking in managerial expertise? But then wasn't Mark Hughes in a similar position when he took on the Welsh reins a decade ago? What of Ryan Giggs, Ian Rush or Dean Saunders? All respected names in their own right.

Well, in all fairness to Chris Coleman, I see no point in going over the maybes or the alternate possibilities. At the end of the day, he's a well respected former player in his own right having played for Swansea City, Crystal Palace, Blackburn and Fulham and at the latter, showed great promise as a young manager before moving on to Spain and Greece where he managed Real Sociedad and Larissa respectively.

In the awful circumstances in which we have found ourselves, it is to Chris Coleman's credit that he has willingly put his name forward for any self-respecting Welsh football fan's dream role considering that it is in the worst possible circumstances imaginable.

As the BBC report on his appointment mentioned, Mark Hughes himself said of the news: "I think he'll [Chris] do a great job and respect the legacy Gary left behind."

In the circumstances, that is all we can wish for.

Good luck Chris Coleman. I don't envy you in the job ahead but you have my 110% backing. Go and make Speedo and the rest of Wales proud.

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