How do you replace Chris Coleman?

It’s okay, he hasn’t gone, yet. But Coleman is one of the hottest properties in British football at the moment and every time a Premier League hot seat is vacated his name crops up.

The Wales manager gave Hull City serious consideration when they came calling at the start of the season.

Swansea City are the latest suitors after the grim reality of their ill-fated choice in Bob Bradley hit home. A poor choice from the outset according to many fans who saw him as a company man parachuted in by the new American owners.

Swansea’s next step is critical and, four points from safety with a lightweight squad, they cannot afford to make a mistake. They also need the fans onside sharpish so a bid for Coleman makes sense.

Why would Coleman consider a team fighting for relegation? Well, it’s Swansea for a start – his home city, the place he credits with helping to shape him as the man he is today and where he was recently awarded the Freedom of the City:

So the Swans could be a big lure for Coleman, he’s top of their list and they will be quite willing to improve his current £500k salary with Wales.

Returning to the headline question then, how do you replace a man like Coleman?

It’s tricky because of course he’s not just any man. He’s the man who ended almost half a century of hurt and got Wales to the finals of a major tournament. He’s also the man who then led that team to the semi-finals, earning plaudits as a team, as a manager and, we’re proud to say, for the supporters who were utterly amazing throughout Euro 2016.

That was some half… what did you think? #WALBEL #EURO2016  #TogetherStronger

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Coleman could theoretically do both jobs of course because there is only one World Cup qualifier between now and the summer. But what if he does a great job, keeps the Swans in the Premier League and they push the boat out to make it permanent?

And that one World Cup qualifier is a crucial game against table-topping Ireland in Dublin. Any Wales fan worth his salt will want total focus on 24 March as, if they win they’re back in the hunt, but if they lose, Russia suddenly seems a very long way away.

After that it’s away to Serbia in June and then Austria, Moldova, Georgia and Ireland again in September and October.

If you can’t have Coleman, who would you want taking over the reigns?

Ryan Giggs:

Also on Swansea’s shortlist and, in hindsight, may have been the better choice over Bob Bradley last time around. That may count against the Swans if they come calling again though. He has two years as assistant manager at Manchester United under his belt, is looking to make the step up and Wales are already considering him for a place in the youth set up. He is respected by players and isn’t long out of the game so knows how modern football works. He would surely be under consideration but does his lack of managerial experience count against him?

Osian Roberts:

Seen by many as the brains behind Wales’s success in recent years and is the mastermind of the youth system which gave us the current crop of stars. But Osian’s skill lies in his coaching and his role is broader than most assistant managers. Plus, being the top dog is different to assisting him as it becomes your job to make the big calls and be the authority. Would Osian want to take that on?

Kit Symons:

Knows the set up and the ‘Wales way’ after previously being a coach under Chris Coleman, and his managerial experience having caretaker-ed at Crystal Palace, Colchester and Fulham. But got his fingers burned at Fulham which could be a deciding factor. In many respects though, he is very much in the Coleman mould with a startlingly similar career path. Again though, there is a big difference between coaching and managing (See Paul Trollope at Cardiff for details).

Outsiders:

Like Giggs, Craig Bellamy has been touted for a youth role with the Wales set up and already has one with Cardiff City. There is no denying his passion and knowledge of the game but experience and temperament make him a long shot.

Kenny Jackett has some down time right now after resigning from Rotherham. He is highly underrated by fans but highly respected by those in the game having won promotions at various levels with Watford, Swansea, Millwall and Wolves. He is quiet, unassuming, or not particularly charismatic if you want to be brutal, but he is effective. May be too high a level for him though, he is a lower league specialist.

Another Wales international is quietly getting on with being a successful coach across the pond. Carl Robinson stepped up from assistant to head coach at the Vancouver Whitecaps in 2013 and has led his team into the CONCACAF Champions League twice. But it is the MLS.

Thierry Henry looks pretty good in a Wales tracksuit when he takes the coaching master classes at Dragon Park! Maybe one for the future.

Just nope:

Somebody in ESFR towers mentioned John Toshack. He is now wishing he hadn’t.

Bit harsh on the big man we know. Wales owes him a lot and he arguably started the team on the path to where it is now, but this is no time to go back.

Former England manager Woy Hodgson isn’t doing much at the moment. There’s probably a good reason for that though.

We asked about Coleman double-jobbing on our Facebook page and you had some interesting comments. Any we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments below, on Facebook or Twitter.

Take a 360 degree tour of the Welsh FA’s Dragon Park

You’d like us to do a 360 degree tour of Dragon Park you say? The training base for Wales’s international teams? As well as it’s highly regarded coaching development courses? Um…alright then.

A big thank you to the Football Association of Wales and the FAW Trust for letting us loose in Dragon Park for the day.

Highlights from the inaugural home nations futsal championships

You may remember we were at the first ever home nations international futsal tournament last month where Wales played England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Well, I say played, I mean mullered, including a storming victory against England in the deciding game.

We enjoyed futsal so much we wanted to share more of it with you. So here, in glorious colour internet video form, we have highlights from all three games.

Wales opened their campaign against Northern Ireland, who had never played a futsal international before. Well done to them for giving it a go, but Wales simply had to much for them:

A confidence booster then ahead of a tricky match against Scotland. But at the Cardiff City House of Sport, Richard Gunney’s men were beginning to find their stride:

Which just left the small matter of England, the pre-tournament favourites in a winner take all final contest. It was tasty, it was pacey and it was a game Wales ultimately grew into before galloping across the line to the first ever home nations futsal title.

Here’s them giving England a spanking:

Well done to Wales then for a magnificent tournament. We’re already looking forward to next year when they will try and defend their title.

The Exiles, Futsal and what it means to be a Wales fan

We went to Newport County to find out how excited they are by a potential FA Cup tie at Liverpool.

We also found out what Futsal was, how to spell it and why it definitely isn’t just normal 5-a-side. It was the inaugural home nations international competition with England, Northern Ireland and Scotland all visiting.

We went along to watch and talk to Futsal’s answer to Gareth Bale, Newport’s own Rico Zulkarnain.

And we went back to Austria. Actually we didn’t go back, but we did pull a load of interviews we did with you guys out of the archives to find out what it means to be a Wales fan.

It’s all in our latest edition of EatSleepFootyRepeat.

FUTSAL HOME NATIONS: CHAMP-EE-OH-NAYS CHAMP-EE-OH-NAYS OLE OLE OLE!

  • Wales beat England 6-2 in the winner-takes-all final game
  • Two goals each for Prangley and Thomas
  • England reduced to four-men after Rexha red card

Here at ESFR we’re not going to pretend we’re Futsal aficionados, but we’ve just spent a fantastic weekend at the Cardiff City House of Sport watching Wales play in the Home Nations International Futsal competition.

Dear lord, it’s frenetic! Properly, full-on, end-to-end, pulsating action with phenomenal speed and skill.

Now, we’ve been chatting to people who’ve asked, ‘So what’s the difference between that and five-aside?’ And it’s a fair point. Five on each side, smaller goals and 20mins each way.

But the skill, people! And the speed! Ever likely they sub entire teams throughout, there simply isn’t time to take a breath during.

Wales opened their account with a thorough 7-1 drubbing of Northern Ireland, who were playing at their first ever international futsal tournament.

They followed that up by beating Scotland 5-2 to set up a winner takes all final game against pre-tournament favourites England.

The visitors pressed early on, regularly testing Richard Morgan’s goal. But Wales settled into the game and the breakthrough came with a change of line-up. An audacious drag back from Rico Zulkarnain on the left played in Simon Prangley to open the scoring.

England pulled level through pantomime villain of the afternoon Luke Ballinger who, aside of his goal, appeared to spend most of his time in people’s faces or chatting to the referees.

img_20161204_161557_01But Wales restored their lead through Chris Hugh before Prangley made it 3-1 by the break with Wales firmly in control.

They came flying out of the gates at the start of the second half, capitalising on England’s need to push forward. Elliot Thomas calmly slotting home numbers four and five to effectively put the game beyond England’s reach.

The visitors responded by pulling their keeper for an outfield player, but it was inevitable that that wouldn’t end well. And it didn’t.

England did manage to pull one back through Max Kilman but they were always gambling with a possible breakaway goal. And so it proved with Agon Rexha red-carded for a professional foul.

Danny Hooper’s late penalty restored Wales’s four-goal cushion but by that time it was done and dusted. Wales are the inaugural Home Nations International Futsal champions and deservedly so.

We were there all weekend chatting to head coach Richard Gunney, captain Lloyd Jenkins and player Rico Zulkarnain. Catch our full video in the next edition of EatSleepFootyRepeat.