On This Day in 2012: Wales appoint Chris Coleman as manager

Chris Coleman was appointed as the new Wales manager, succeeding his friend, the late Gary Speed, on this day in 2012.

Former Wales defender Coleman began his managerial career with Fulham in 2003 before having spells at Spanish club Real Sociedad, Coventry and Larissa in Greece, leaving shortly ahead of his appointment to the national team.

Football Association of Wales chief executive Jonathan Ford admitted it had been a “very difficult process” to find someone to replace Speed.

While Coleman described his appointment as “the proudest moment in my career”, he acknowledged the circumstances surrounding Speed’s death made it a “bittersweet” experience.

Wales – UEFA Euro 2016 – Wales Homecoming
Wales players and manager Chris Coleman acknowledge the fans after returning from Euro 2016 (Paul Harding/PA)

“It was always going to be difficult for the next Wales manager, whoever it was going to be, because of the situation,” Coleman said.

“I think it’s even more difficult for me because of my relationship with Gary.

“Although we were close friends, we were different personalities, but I’m not here to disrupt anything, I’m here to build on it.”

Wales were never in the hunt for 2014 World Cup qualification, suffering an embarrassing 6-1 defeat in Serbia as they finished below Scotland and second bottom of their group.

Chris Coleman
Coleman had a spell at Sunderland (Richard Sellers/PA)

Coleman, though, agreed a new deal to stay on and memorably guided Wales to their first major tournament for 58 years when qualifying for Euro 2016, where they reached the semi-finals before losing to eventual champions Portugal.

Despite his contract extension also taking in the 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign, Coleman resigned as Wales manager in November 2017 after a home defeat to Republic of Ireland had ended hopes of reaching the tournament in Russia.

Coleman took over at Sunderland but, with the club up for sale, he could not keep them in the Championship and left in April 2018 before having a spell in charge at Hebei China Fortune.

He returned to management in January 2022 with Greek side Atromitos but resigned last October after 20 months in charge.