Fulham Deaf Football Club would like issue a tribute on this website to a special coach in Chris McGinn; he has our heartfelt thanks for his excellent service in coaching the FDFC lads in the last five years since he became Head Coach back in July 2009.

When he made a decision to step down as Head Coach of FDFC in the early summer, we tried to cajole him into staying on; we tried very hard to persuade him to reverse his decision before we had to accept it. The fact that we went to great lengths to try to keep him here at the club speaks volumes for the high regard in which he is held by the players and management at FDFC.

Let’s start by talking about his coaching ability and the vast experience he has on his CV; having been a  professional football coach for over twenty-five years, coaching both elite youths and adults. His previous role before FDFC was working for the Football Association, coaching young players as part of Sir Trevor Brooking’s team of coaches, but also Coach Education, where he was one of the few coaches in the country leading the way in promoting a new coaching style.

An examination of his CV shows an impressive list of clubs he has previously worked with, including many years at professional clubs such as Bristol Rovers, Bristol City, Gillingham, QPR, Wigan, Fulham, Chelsea and Arsenal.

He has proved to be the most amazing master tactician and analyser that FDFC have ever had since the establishment of the club back in 2003. The players have learnt so much from his coaching methods especially in adopting an effective team shape across defensive and attacking play as well as phases of play in possession of the ball and without.  Throughout his five years of coaching FDFC, he has been forever evolving and developing his style and techniques of coaching. His coaching is player focused and uses enthusiasm, positive re-enforcement, and analysis of players performances to ensure that he differentiates for each player, technically, psychologically, physically and socially.

He has had success in using these methods on many players who he worked with as youngsters before they went on to success later on (Nathan Dyer and Scott Sinclair) through to players who were helped in their late teens like Bobby Zamora, and so many coming through the ranks from the Arsenal youth system like Kieran Gibbs, James Dunn, Henri Lansbury, Sanchez Watt and Jack Wilshire.

He has and continues to coach the Great Britain Deaf Men football team (since 2010) and in part due to his efforts, GB have qualified for the European Deaf Championship finals next June in Hannover, Germany.

His coaching CV speaks for itself; all players at FDFC have known that they need to concentrate on his valuable coaching tactics which had been very successful for five years.

During his span of five years with FDFC, he has achieved a lot- the greatest highlight of all being FDFC’s British Deaf Cup victory against St Johns at Cardiff International Sports Stadium in May 2013. He had worked very hard to coach players on the training ground prior to the cup final match to ensure they followed up the game plan and how the pre-determined tactics would work against St Johns. He followed this up on the day, reinforcing the tactics in the changing room to ensure that the players were focused and clearly understood the game plan.

It has been said that English players can’t change systems but FDFC proved on the day that this is not the case with our players. They played a different formation with a different set of tactics to stop the threat of St John’s formidable four international strikers in the British Deaf Cup final match, which ended with FDFC winning 5-0 on the day.

All FDFC players shall never forget what Chris said afterwards: “It’s one of my proudest moments at Fulham being part of such a tremendous win in the most prestigious of competitions, the British Deaf Cup. The British Deaf Cup is the biggest competition for us here at Fulham, it’s a bit like the FA Cup, but it covers the whole of the UK. St Johns are a real formidable side and their front three are Great Britain International players. They have a real quality about them and we worked Thursday night on our tactics to change the formation and the way that we play. I have been at the Club for five years now and it has sent a bit of a shockwave through the game here. We have had a massive response from fans and on social networks, a little shocked that, not only did we beat St Johns but that we gave them a bit of a battering. This is probably my proudest time at Fulham. To get there is such a great result and I am so proud of everyone here for what they have achieved”

He also succeeded in coaching FDFC in the Deaf Champions League in Belgrade, Serbia in June 2014 and achieved 4th place out of 16 European teams, where the team made light of a number of points of adversity to perform to a high standard on their debut in this competition. In addition, he also helped the club win the England Deaf Cup against Derby 5 – 1 in Bristol in May 2012 and the British Deaf Cup 3 – 2 after extra time against Doncaster at Goodison Park back in May 2010, the home ground of Everton FC.

Lastly, everyone at the FDFC camp would like to say a big thank you to Chris for five years of dedicated and professional coaching service and all the hard work and effort he has put into the training sessions in the last five years. He has been a brilliant and fantastic coach. His enormous commitment to the club has been first class. He is, without a doubt, a world class coach and we have been very lucky to have him all those years. He will be sorely missed by the FDFC players. FDFC would like to wish him all the very best for the foreseeable future with his coaching work.

Christof Niklaus, FDFC Honorary President and Chairman, said “FDFC owes Chris McGinn a huge debt of gratitude and his hard work is clearly visible throughout the club at different levels.  We owe it to him to move forward at this level he brought us to and continue to win trophies for the club.”

Hopefully he will watch our football games sometimes this season; if he does turn up out of the blue, he will always be welcomed by the players and management.