Saturday 24 August 2019

Chris Coleman steps down from Wales role to take Sunderland job

Chris Coleman has resigned as Wales manager.

The Football Association of Wales confirmed Coleman's departure on Friday night, with the 47-year-old expected to be appointed Sunderland manager in the next 48 hours.

FAW chief executive Jonathan Ford said: "We are extremely disappointed to see Chris' tenure as Wales manager come to an end."

Eighteen days after parting company with Simon Grayson, Press Association Sport understands the Black Cats have persuaded the man who guided Wales to the semi-finals of Euro 2016 to take up the reins at the Stadium of Light.

Coleman's future was discussed by the Football Association of Wales on Friday, but speculation that he could be a contender for the Black Cats had initially been greeted with scepticism after a series of other potential candidates had distanced themselves from the vacancy.

However, chief executive Martin Bain has staged something of a coup to land a man whose stock could hardly be higher despite missing out on World Cup qualification last month.

Sources on Wearside insist Coleman is the only man to have been offered a contract amid speculation that Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill had turned down an opportunity to manage the club.

Barnsley's Paul Heckingbottom had also been heavily linked with Sunderland, where he was a trainee, although it emerged on Friday that he was not in consideration.

Coleman will inherit a club in a state if flux on and off the pitch with financial constraints having severely hampered predecessors David Moyes and Grayson and the Black Cats in danger of suffering successive relegations.

They lie at the foot of the Sky Bet Championship table ahead of Saturday's clash with Millwall, for which Robbie Stockdale will be in charge, and have not won a league game on their own pitch since December last year.

Taking the Sunderland job will mean a return to club management for the first time in five years for Coleman.

The 47-year-old took his first job when 33, managing Fulham after retiring early due to injury.

He took them to ninth in the Premier League but lost his job in 2007 and moved to Real Sociedad.

Coleman spent six months in Spain before returning to England with Coventry but left two years later before a short spell with Greek side AEL.

He was appointed as Wales manager in January 2012, taking over in tough circumstances following the tragic death of Gary Speed.

Success came, albeit slowly, with Wales missing out on the 2014 World Cup before qualifying for the 2016 Euros where he really made his name.

PA Media

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