Coleman steps down as Sociedad coach
Thursday 17 January 2008
Chris Coleman has announced his resignation as coach of Real Sociedad. Coleman's decision comes less than a week after the Welshman said he would be staying at the Spanish second division outfit following a meeting with the club's new president, Inaki Badiola.
There had been speculation about the former Fulham manager's future at Sociedad due to the recent election of Badiola, whose new ideas on the club's aims for the season and transfer policy differed greatly to the ones set out following Coleman's arrival last summer.
Having asked for a few days to consider his position, Coleman last Thursday announced he would be staying at Sociedad for "as long as the club need me" after receiving the backing of Badiola.
However, 37-year-old Coleman appears to have had a change of heart and yesterday announced to a press conference that he was stepping down as coach alongside his assistant, Steve Kean.
Coleman joined Sociedad last July on a three-year contract, taking over from Miguel Angel Lotina who was unable to prevent the Basque giants from being relegated from the top flight for the first time in 40 years.
After a slow start to the season which saw Coleman's side win four of their opening 10 league and cup games while also losing five, Sociedad have built up some momentum recently and have now lost just one of their last 11 matches.
Last weekend they beat local rivals Alaves 1-0 to move up to fifth in the second division standings, one point behind Sporting Gijon who occupy the third and final promotion place.
Coleman came close to stepping down once before during a testing first six months in San Sebastian, when in November he offered to quit following the resignation of former president Maria de la Pena.
De la Pena played an influential role in bringing Coleman to Sociedad and the former Wales international admitted at the time that if she left he was willing to follow suit.
Coleman was persuaded to stay on by the remaining board members though, who asked him to remain in charge at least until the new presidential elections took place on 3 January.
Those elections resulted in the appointment of Badiola, whose new ideas in running the club included the addition of a number of new players that he had already pinpointed – a policy which did not sit well with Coleman, who was against new faces being brought in. Badiola also had a six-month timescale to take Sociedad back into the Primera Liga which Coleman is thought to have been unhappy about.
A meeting between the two at the start of last week resulted in Coleman committing his future to the club, but the Swansea-born coach has now reversed that decision.
"We are quitting as coaches of Real Sociedad and we are leaving the posts with much sadness as it is a fantastic club," Coleman said in a statement. "Things have changed with the arrival of Inaki Badiola because there are now two different ways of seeing the club and of working."
Coleman's decision came 24 hours after Salva Iriarte, the sports director and former Wales assistant manager, was dismissed. Coleman took over as Sociedad manager having been sacked by Fulham in April last year.
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