Widnes Vikings appoint new head coach from fellow Championship side with length of contract confirmed

Drew Darbyshire
Allan Coleman Widnes Vikings

Allan Coleman, Widnes Vikings' new head coach - Alamy

Widnes Vikings have appointed their new head coach in the shape of Allan Coleman, who will join from fellow Championship club Swinton Lions.

The 47-year-old will see out the rest of the current season with Swinton and will begin his new job with Widnes on October 1.

Coleman has put pen to paper on a two-year deal with Widnes from 2024, with an option of a further year in the club’s favour.

Coleman, who hails from Leigh, will take over the head coaching reins from John Kear, who was relieved of his duties in June.

On becoming head coach of the Vikings, Coleman said: “I want to thank the Vikings for the opportunity to lead the team into the 2024 season and beyond.

“It was something I couldn’t turn down and I am extremely excited and looking forward to doing.

“Widnes is a club with a great history and there have been some fantastic coaches fortunate enough to lead the club and I feel now is the right time for myself and Widnes to go on a journey we can be proud of.

“Looking from afar it has not quite worked the last few years for the Vikings and that’s something I feel confident I can change.

“It is going to take a lot of hard work, but that is something that I thrive on.

“Speaking with Chris Hamilton (head of operations) and listening to his vision for the club it was a no-brainer.

“I want to be, and will be, the coach that changes the club’s fortunes and take them back to where they belong.”

Meet Allan Coleman: The new Widnes Vikings head coach

Coleman started his coaching career at his local community club Leigh Miners Rangers with their Under-18s and had a spell as coach of Leigh’s reserves before taking over as head coach of the Open Age side at Leigh Miners Rangers from 2012-16.

During his time with Miners, they won the Challenge Trophy three times, the Steve Prescott Trophy twice, League Leaders’ Shield and National Conference League winners as well as Coleman being named NCL Coach of the Year twice.

Coleman then had a spell in rugby union with Tyldesley between 2017-19, completing a league and cup double.

He was then appointed assistant coach at Swinton from 2019-21 before taking over the head coaching reins at Heywood Road.

Swinton were relegated from the Championship in 2021, but Coleman guided the Lions back to the Championship at the first time of asking.

Coleman also has international coaching experience with the England Community Lions.

Vikings boss on the appointment of Coleman

On appointing Coleman, Widnes head of operations Chris Hamilton said: “As a club, we were clear in what we wanted in the new coach.

“We want to change the performance on the field so that Widnes Vikings are not seen as underachievers.

“That, of course, is easier said than done, but we strongly feel that, in Allan, we have a coach that has the drive, ambition and desire, that myself, the board, the players and the fans all have to succeed.

“From the first time we met, what struck us was Allan’s motivation for wanting the job and what he feels he can achieve here.

“He has served a true rugby league apprenticeship with his various coaching positions and has seen life at most levels of the community and professional game. No doubt that has stood him in good stead previously, and we, as a club, also hope to benefit from that moving forward.

“We hope that everybody will get behind Allan to help us achieve our goals.”

Neil Belshaw will take charge of the Vikings for the rest of the season, with Hamilton saying that Belshaw will be part of their coaching staff moving forward.

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