Wales manager Chris Coleman offered freedom of Swansea

Wales manager Chris Coleman during the Press Conference

A city more famous for its connections to Dylan Thomas is to bestow an honour on a football hero.

The Wales manager, Chris Coleman, is to be offered the freedom of his home town, Swansea, after leading the team to the semi-finals of Euro 2016.

David Hopkins, the lord mayor of Swansea, said: “Freedom of the city is the highest honour the people of Swansea can confer on one of its own. And after the amazing, incredible exploits of the last month in France, I think I can safely say everyone in Swansea believes it’s richly deserved.

“In interviews Chris has been saying he hopes the France adventure has fully established Wales on the footballing map. We can say it’s not just Wales, but Swansea too.”

Coleman was born and raised in Mayhill, a working class area of pebble-dashed terraces and houses set high above the city, with views across to the Port Talbot steelworks one way and the Gower peninsula the other.

As a player Coleman represented Swansea City and Wales. After becoming a manager he won plaudits for turning a Welsh squad made up of one superstar in Gareth Bale and more than its fair share of journeymen pros into a winning team.

He guided Wales to its first major tournament since 1958, and the team exceeded expectations by reaching the semi-finals, losing eventually to the tournament winners, Portugal.

Wales returned to a heroes’ welcome with an open-top bus ride through Cardiff and a celebration including an appearance by Manic Street Preachers.

John Charles, who played for Wales in the World Cup in 1958, when Wales lost to Pelé’s Brazil, was awarded the freedom of the city in 2002.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Steven Morris, for theguardian.com on Monday 18th July 2016 18.45 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010

 

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