Soccer

On this day in 2004: John Toshack returns to manage Wales for second time

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John Toshack returned to manage Wales for a second time on this day in 2004.

The former Real Madrid boss had previously held the position on a part-time basis in 1994 while retaining his coaching job at Real Sociedad, managing just one friendly against Norway.

But after Mark Hughes resigned to become manager of Premier League side Blackburn, Toshack – who had been publicly critical of the former Manchester United striker – was the Football Association of Wales’ unanimous choice to take over.

Toshack admitted he made an error in taking the job the first time, which he quit after just 47 days, but had decided the time was right for a return.

“When I was here I saw there were greater difficulties and issues I could not address under those circumstances. It was probably a mistake upon my behalf,” he said at his first press conference.

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“This time it is different in the fact that I don’t have any further commitments. We are 10 years further on, and I have more knowledge of the game. I feel inside now it is the right time for me.”

Toshack’s first full qualifying campaign, for Euro 2008, was hamstrung by international retirements and unavailability issues to such an extent he wrote a letter to 36 players asking them to show “total commitment to the cause”.

Wales finished fifth out of seven in their group, fourth out of six in World Cup 2010 qualifying and he eventually offered his resignation after losing the opening match of their Euro 2012 qualifying campaign.

Toshack handed international debuts to Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey during his reign and, alongside intermediate coach and “talent spotter” Brian Flynn, was credited with laying some of the foundations of Wales’ future success.

Wales would eventually go on to reach the semi-finals of Euro 2016, as well as qualifying for Euro 2020 and the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

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