If Premiership potential was judged on the passion of the man delivering the team talks, Fulham would be red-hot favourites to be the success story of the new season.
Chris Coleman, the 33-year-old Welshman who replaced the vastly-experienced Jean Tigana, is a man brimming with self-confidence.
The Cottagers manager promises an entertaining season at the helm of Mohamed Al Fayed’s club – and certainly with a more open approach than the near-silent Tigana, a man so camera-shy he sent his assistant Christian Damiano to virtually every press conference during his three-year tenure. Coleman’s attitude, both to the media and his team, is markedly different from that of his predecessor.
He is relaxed with reporters, joking he planned to “kidnap Wayne Rooney in the car park” before a game with Everton at the tail end of last season.
And with his players, the bond he shared with them before a car crash ended his playing career is clearly evident.
Tigana, who appointed him as a coach only in October, took just a month before promoting him and asking him to deliver his team-talks for him.
But, in the harsh reality of top-flight management, potential for success comes down to far more than just a powerful personality.
Steve Kean, the reserve team boss who was Coleman’s assistant during his successful stint as caretaker manager for the final five games of the season, has been installed as his permanent number two.
Coleman’s temporary reign after Tigana was dispatched back to France certainly suggests he can crack it as a manager.
And the former Wales international has been careful not to predict too much this season. “We got carried away in the past, spent a lot of money and said we’d do this and achieve that,” he said.
“But the fact of the matter is we’re not a top-six club and don’t get 50,000 crowds.
“We’ve got to be realistic and our dreams have to come down a bit.
“If we stay in the Premiership next season and finish higher than 14th, that’ll be a success.”
Coleman does admit his job will be in jeopardy if he does not deliver.
“There’s a saying in football that ‘you’re only ever five games from the sack’,” he said.
“I’m under no illusions and know how tough it’ll be. If the results aren’t good, there’ll be added pressure.
“I don’t expect the supporters to back me all the way if results are bad.https://get-latest.convrse.media/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.walesonline.co.uk%2Fsport%2Ffootball%2Ffootball-news%2Fcoleman-im-just-five-games-2473312&cre=bottom&cip=22&view=web
“It’s a massive challenge, a big responsibility and the honeymoon period is over.”
Now Coleman will focus on doing what he does best – rallying the troops.
And if his players are ever in a quandary, they can always ring their boss for advice.
That is, as long as they do not shed tears of laughter upon hearing his latest answer phone message, of course.
Coleman’s previous voicemail message was: “You’ve reached the big, brown Welshman. Leave a message after the tone.”