Born: Swansea, Wales, 10 June 1970
Position: Centre back
International caps: 32
International goals: 6
Signed: 1 December 1997 from Blackburn Rovers (£2.1m)
Fulham debut: Fulham 1-1 Brentford, 2 December 1997
Fulham appearances: 165
Fulham goals: 11
Honours: Second Division champions (1998-99), First Division champions (2000-01).
Appointed: 17 April 2003 (caretaker); 15 May 2003 (permanent)
Sacked: 10 April 2007
Games managed: 176
Games won: 61
Games drawn: 44
Games lost: 71
Win percentage: 34.7%
Chris Coleman became Fulham’s record signing when he surprised the football world by dropping two divisions to join the Whites from Blackburn Rovers for £2.1m in December 1997. The Welsh centre back became a fixture at the heart of the Fulham defence, often alongside his compatriots Kit Symons and Andy Melville, captaining Kevin Keegan’s side to the Second Division title in 1999 as well as the fifth round of the FA Cup. Coleman had made 165 appearances in three years at the club and was poised to lead Jean Tigana’s men back to the top flight when he badly broke his leg in a car crash in Surrey on 2 January 2001.
He battled back from injury to feature for Fulham’s reserves and make one final international appearance for Wales but announced an emotional end to his playing career in October 2002. He joined Tigana’s coaching staff and was thrust into the caretaker manager role when Fulham parted company with the Frenchman in April 2003 with the Whites in danger of going down. Coleman guided Fulham to three wins from five games and was appointed the Premier League’s youngest manager permanently in May 2003.
He made a mockery of pre-season predictions of relegation guiding Fulham to a then club-record finish of ninth in 2003/04, with the Whites recording memorable wins over Tottenham Hotspur and at Manchester United before his side overcame the departure of Louis Saha. Coleman took Fulham back to Craven Cottage and established them as a top-flight force, famously beating Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea in 2006. He lost the services of several key players, including Luis Boa Morte and Steed Malbranque, but kept Fulham afloat until April 2007 when he was sacked following a 3-1 defeat at home to Manchester City that put the club’s Premier League status in serious jeopardy.
Coleman went to manage Real Sociedad, Coventry City and AEL in Greece before taking over from his close friend Gary Speed as Welsh national manager after the former Leeds and Newcastle midfielder had committed suicide. He guided Wales to qualification for Euro 2016 – their first major finals in 58 years – and his side stunned the football world by topping their group, which included England, and beating Northern Ireland and Belgium to reach the semi-finals, where they lost to eventual winners Portugal.
Coleman resigned as Welsh boss after failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia and, following ill-fated spells at Sunderland and Chinese Super League side Hebei China Fortune, is now managing Atromidis in Greece.