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Coleman set to be given Freedom of Swansea

CHRIS COLEMAN, manager of Wales and one of our city's most famous sons, is to be offered the freedom of his home city.

Chris Coleman

Coleman and his team of Welsh dragons returned from France to a hero's welcome on Friday. Now the manager who led the side to the semi-final of a European Championship at the first attempt is to be honoured by the people of the city where he grew up.

David Hopkins, 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.

"To reach the European Championship semi-final is fantastic in itself. But the team have been outstanding ambassadors for Wales on and off the field and the leadership Chris has shown truly demonstrates that being #TogetherStronger is a story of shared experience and shared character we can all be part of."

Thousands of Wales fans crowded into Singleton Park last Wednesday to see Wales go down to Portugal in the semi-final. But they, like the fans in France, were full of praise for the team's achievements.

Chris Coleman was born in Swansea in 1970. He went to St Joseph's RC Primary School and to Bishop Vaughan RC Comprehensive. He played for Swansea City 160 times and for Wales 32 times.

After leaving Swansea in 1991, he went on to play for Crystal Palace, Blackburn Fulham and later had spells as manager at Fulham, Coventry and Spanish side Real Sociedad.

He was appointed Wales manager in the tragic and difficult aftermath of the death of his good friend Gary Speed in 2012. From there he built a team that made the nation proud by qualifying for its first major championships in 58 years.

Being the holder of the Freedom of the City of Swansea is to be a member of an extremely exclusive club. The most recent person to have been conferred with the honour is former Swansea City star Mel Nurse earlier this year.

Mel's contemporary John Charles, who led Wales to World Cup glory and eventual quarter-final defeat to Pele's Brazil in 1958, was also awarded the Freedom of the City in 2002.

Cllr Hopkins said: "There is a kind of footballing poetry in the links that bind three of our famous sons across the generations like John Charles, Mel Nurse and Chris Coleman and the story of Chris Coleman and the Wales team of 2016 is one which will be told for generations to come.

"We know it's only a chapter and there is more to come. The people of Swansea will be behind Chris and the team on every step of the journey."

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