Chris Coleman makes poignant return to homeland of his father

Wales manager Chris Coleman returns to his father's homeland on Friday night as Wales manager in a World Cup qualifier in Dublin
By Phil Blanche, Press Association Sport

WALES manager Chris Coleman's World Cup visit to Dublin will be full of emotion as he returns to the home city of his late father Paddy.

Vital points on the road to Russia 2018 will be at stake on Friday with third-placed Wales seeking to cut the four-point gap on Group D leaders the Republic of Ireland.

But the game also holds special significance for Coleman as, three years ago, he scattered his father's ashes in the River Liffey.... alongside a pint of Guinness!

"Throwing a pint of Guinness into the Liffey (with the ashes) is a done thing there, especially where he was from in the East Wall of Dublin," Coleman said.

"We did it next to the Brazen Head pub, which dates back to 1198, and is the oldest pub in Ireland.

"He always said make sure you do it there. It was his request.

"But if I'm honest I did have a little drop of Guinness first... it was eight euros a pint!

"My two sisters and Charlotte (Coleman's television presenter wife) were with me when we did it. It was incredibly poignant."

Coleman senior left Dublin and moved to Swansea at the age of 20, and it was there Chris was born and grew up.

The defender played nearly 600 games for Swansea, Crystal Palace, Blackburn and Fulham in a 15-year senior career and won 32 caps for Wales.

He would later go on to manage Wales and lead them to the semi-final of Euro 2016 - the country's first major tournament since 1958.

But Coleman revealed he did attract the Republic's interest as a young player.

"There was talk about when Jackie Charlton was manager of the Republic and a tentative phone call came my way," Coleman said.

"But my dad always pushed me to play for Wales.

"I started playing football at the age of seven and he guided me, he never raised his voice.

"I've watched parents sometimes on the touchlines at youth games and they are screaming and shouting, which is not the way to go.

"But he was the opposite to that. He was always a quiet talker - he never lost his Dublin accent - but he was massive for me as a youngster."

Coleman's success with Wales is tinged with sadness as his father never saw him take the country to the European Championship in France.

And Coleman says his father would have been so proud to see him standing on the Aviva Stadium touch-line as the Wales manager.

"I used to take him back to Dublin most summers for a few days," Coleman said.

"He would have a little roam around where he was brought up.

"He loved football and would have loved this - he would have been ecstatic."

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