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Last Updated: Saturday, 30 June 2007, 18:26 GMT 19:26 UK
Coleman 'can shine at Sociedad'
Chris Coleman
Coleman was recommended to Sociedad by John Toshack
John Aldridge has backed Chris Coleman to lead Real Sociedad back the top-flight of Spanish football.

Coleman, 37, has accepted the manager's job at the Spanish second division side, and his appointment is set to be confirmed shortly.

"It's a strange move, you have to admit," Aldridge, who had two seasons with Sociedad, told BBC Wales Sport.

"But Chris did a great job at Fulham and I'm sure if he gets the right backing he'll take Sociedad back up."

Former Liverpool and Republic of Ireland striker Aldridge became the first non-Basque to play for Sociedad when he joined for 1.1m from Liverpool in 1989.

When you talk about pride, the Sociedad fans are right up there

John Aldridge

The move was controversial at the time, with many traditionalists opposed to ending the long tradition of fielding only home-grown talent.

Coleman, though, will have no such delicate climate to face when he becomes the second Welshman after John Toshack to manage the club.

He will also have the distinct advantage of arriving with a glowing reference from Toshack, still a highly respected figure at the club.

"It was quite a difficult time politically when I joined, but I just let the football do the talking and won the fans over fairly quickly," said Aldridge, who played under Toshack during his second season at Sociedad.

"I left the gate open for others to follow. It's a great club and the Basque people are absolutely adorable people and San Sebastian is one of the most beautiful places you could ever visit.

John Aldridge
Aldridge scored 33 goals in 63 games for Real Sociedad

"It's different there now and so won't be too difficult for Chris. He just needs to get to know the Spanish market.

"He'll need to find out quickly what he needs to take them back up. He'll need a bit of toughness, a bit of steel, someone who can score goals and someone who can stop them going in at the other end."

Sociedad were founder members of La Liga back in 1928, and have two league titles to their name.

They were relegated for the first time in 40 years last season after finishing one from bottom, prompting Miguel Angel Lotina to resign.

Aldridge said Coleman will face considerable pressure and expectation to take the club straight back up, but believes the enthusiasm and passion of the fans will bring the best out of the former Fulham manager.

"When you talk about pride, the Sociedad fans are right up there," said Aldridge.

"They are so proud of their heritage and their football team - anything to do with the region.

"So it's very important for them to see Real Sociedad playing in La Liga.

"I don't know the political status of the club at the moment, but let's hope Chris gets what he needs so he can take them back to where they belong."

SEE ALSO
Coleman closer to Sociedad role
01 Jul 07 |  Europe


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