Widnes Vikings appoint new head coach for 2024 season

Widnes Vikings have been languishing in the Championship ever since their relegation from Super League in 2018 and since then the club have failed to challenge for promotion, but they currently sit seventh despite being without a head coach.

That’s because John Kear was dismissed earlier in the season with the Vikings going through a difficult patch of form but since then there has been a minor resurgence.

As a result Widnes have forced their way back up to seventh and they sit just one place and one point outside of the playoffs with just seven rounds remaining, however the surrounding teams are incredibly packed together.

Ranging from fifth place to ninth there are just five points difference with the Vikings slap bang in the middle despite currently being ran by an interim head coach.

It’s now been confirmed that they have recruited a fellow Championship coach, however he won’t join until October 1st but will partake in player recruitment discussions.

That man is Swinton Lions boss Allan Coleman with the Lions currently sitting in 13th in a fight for survival.

Widnes announced the news late last night, just hours after confirming that they extended the loan deal for young Tom Forber until the end of the season, with the news coming on the club website.

“Widnes Vikings are delighted to announce the appointment of Allan Coleman as their new Head Coach.

“The appointment will start on 1 October 2023 following the end of the current season.

“Coleman is currently Head Coach of our Championship rivals, Swinton Lions, and joins the Vikings on a two-year deal, with a club option for a third year.”

Coleman commented ” 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.”

He continued ” 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 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.”

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.”

It was also explained how the move would work in relation to Coleman balancing the current Swinton job.

“Coleman will continue at Swinton until the end of the season but will be working with the Vikings on player recruitment and retention during that time.”

Hamilton added ” We are grateful to Steve Wild and Damian Ridpath at Swinton for them releasing Allan and wish them well in trying to stay in the Championship this season.”