Fulham Club Captain Chris Coleman has been forced to retire from professional football, after injuries sustained in a car crash over 18 months ago have prevented him ever being able to play professional football again.
The 32 year old central defender was with the Club for 5 years from 1997, joining from Premiership side Blackburn Rovers whilst the club was in the 2nd Division and was a highly influential factor in Fulham's return to top flight football.
In January 2001 Chris sustained severe injuries to his right leg in a car accident which most believed he was lucky to have survived.
After many months of extensive surgery and latterly intensive physiotherapy Chris made his return for Fulham in a reserve game against Charlton Athletic at Woking FC's Kingfield Stadium on Wednesday 27 March 2002.
However, the movement and mobility in Coleman's ankle was limited, along with a weakness in his knee which caused constant and severe pain during training sessions, and after extensive talks with the Club's Doctors' and a team of external medical experts this summer, Chris was forced to reach this decision.
Chris will maintain his intrinsic links with Fulham Football Club however, by joining Jean Tigana's team of coaching staff alongside Christian Damiano and Roger Propos working with the first team and with Steve Kean in the Academy. He aims to take his UEFA coaching badges at the end of the season.
Today Chris Coleman said:
"It really is fantastic that I have been given the opportunity to stay at Fulham Football Club in this new role. I have a great affection for the Club and the fans and I have always wanted to be able to show my appreciation and gratitude for the support they have shown me.
"The coaching role is extensive and challenging and I look forward to working with Jean, his team and of course the players to ensure we can maintain and build on the success that the Club has achieved so far."
The Club's CEO, Bruce Langham commented:
"The name Chris Coleman is synonymous with Fulham Football Club and I know that the fans will be delighted not to lose him and, as I am sure they would like to say their own inimitable farewell, we are currently discussing the possibility of a benefit match in his honour some time next year.
"The new role that Chris will be fulfilling has great potential for him in terms of his development as a coach and I know that Jean Tigana and our Chairman have the greatest respect for him in terms of his drive, enthusiasm and commitment. I believe that there is no greater ambassador for this Club and we are sure that Chris will embrace his new role with the passion that he always displayed for us on the pitch."