Roland Nilsson

After intial success in his first managerial post in English football, Roland Nilsson was dismissed by Coventry City after the club failed to reach the play-offs in the Nationwide First Division.

Nilsson was appointed as the permanent successor to Gordon Strachan in the Coventry City manager's post on October 16 2001 having taken temporary charge of team affairs on September 10 following the Scot's departure from Highfield Road.

Known to Sheffield Wednedsday and Coventry City fans as one of the most dependable players ever to pull on the shirt of either club, Roland arrived in England from Sweden in 1989 after making his name at Swedish side IFK Goteborg.

The defender was born in 1963 and made his last appearance for his country in the 2000 World Cup in France having earned 112 caps for Sweden during his twenty years as a a professional.

His career in English football came in three spells. He was signed in 1989 by Ron Atkinson, the then Sheffield Wednesday manager and went on to complete 185 appearances including three at Wembley, picking up a League Cup winners medal in 1991.

After this, Roland returned to Sweden where he played for Helsingborgs for three years. Bizarrely, he was considering taking a job as a Sales Manager for an insurance firm in anticipation of retiring from the game when Ron Atkinson persuaded him to come back to England to play for Coventry City.

Nilsson spent two seasons at Highfield Road in which his performances in the Coventry defence were hailed as one of the main reasons the Sky Blues remained in the top flight at that time.

After returning to Sweden once more for another spell with Helsingborgs, eventually becoming coach of the side, Nilsson was invited back to Coventry by Gordon Strachan and returned to Highfield Road in 2001 to work alongside his former team-mate as a coach.

Following Coventry's relegation to the First Division and a poor start to the 2001/2002 season, Strachan left the club and Nilsson took over, initially as caretaker manager.

During his temporary stint the Swede guided the team to five wins and a draw in Division One, lifting them to 5th place in the table and putting them in contention for a promotion battle after just over a month at the helm.

His immediate success convinced the Coventry board that he was the right man to lead the club's fight to return to the top flight and he was given the job full-time two days after securing a 1-0 win over Walsall.

The team's success under Nilsson continued as they remained unbeaten for another five games to challenge at the top of Division One. However, a 3-2 loss to Millwall ended their run and a further six defeats in their next ten fixtures led to the Swede's decision to bring in former Derby boss Jim Smith as assistant manager.

Smith's arrival did little to help the position of Bryan Richardson who suffered a vote of no confidence at the end of January and resigned his post as Coventry chairman.

Having dropped away from the automatic promotion places, the Sky Blues remained in contention for a play-off place right up to the last few games of the season but a run of six games without a win in March and April ultimately cost Nilsson and Smith their jobs.

The pair were dismissed on April 15, with one game of the season to go, just nine days after Nilsson's last appearance for the club as a player having vowed to hang up his boots following the 4-0 defeat to fellow play-off hopefuls Preston.

Honours (1)
  • personal-awards
    • Coventry City:
      • Manager of the Month, Sky Bet Championship, (2001-10-01)
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