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Coppell runs out of answers at Reading

Paul Fletcher | 11:21 UK time, Wednesday, 13 May 2009

The rumours had been doing the rounds for weeks, ever since a story in the Daily Mail at the back end of April suggested Steve Coppell would quit not only Reading but also football in general at the end of the season.

The Royals boss said that it was "absolute rubbish, a non-story" but stopped short of saying that he would remain at the Madejski Stadium.

And a few hours after his team's play-off semi-final defeat at the hands of Burnley on Tuesday evening Coppell duly announced his resignation from Reading after six years in charge at the Berkshire club.

The 53-year-old had refused to discuss his future in the immediate aftermath of the game, choosing to wait until he had fulfilled all his media obligations before releasing a short statement.

In some ways it was typical Coppell; straightforward, low key and done with the minimum of fuss.

Reading manager Steve Coppell"I feel it is the best thing, for both the club and myself, for me to leave," he said in his statement.

Yet the clues about what was to follow were there as the 53-year-old fielded questions following his team's 2-0 defeat at the Madejski Stadium.

There was a deep despair in his frank and honest assessment of his team's failure to bounce straight back to the Premier League. Coppell is never the most emotive but his disappointment was clear.

Reading's had been a season that often promised much but ultimately failed to deliver. It is a story of ifs and maybes and Coppell, as he had suggested over the previous weeks, was short of answers.

The Royals failed to win any of their last nine home games and Coppell admitted: "It is something I could not understand and something that I could not solve."

Just two wins in those games (or if they had beaten Birmingham in their final game of the regular season) would have seen them go up automatically and Coppell concluded: "No team had more chances to be promoted than us."

Coppell is an honest, straight up guy and did not hide from the issue when he said his team's failure to secure promotion was "the manager's fault". He pointed out that the club had made a profit this season and said "there is no credit crunch here". I could not help but wonder whether he wished his team had spent more money after just falling short.

Or maybe what cost them was a loss of form from key players at a crucial point in the season. Why else would Coppell have handed a first league start to 20-year-old striker Simon Church for the second leg against the Clarets while leaving the likes of Stephen Hunt, Dave Kitson and Glen Little on the bench?

Perhaps the most telling statement of Coppell's growing disillusion, or perhaps frustration, with his failure to meet his own standards, came with the line: "I did not expect this (end to the season), I expected something else. I have no plan for the summer. I apologise to the fans."

It was the fans who played a major part in persuading Coppell to remain at the club after he considered quitting in the wake of the club's relegation from the top flight last summer.Steve Coppell celebrates Reading's promotion to the Premier League in 2006

They hold the 53-year-old in great affection - and rightly so. It was Coppell who presided over the club's promotion to the Premier League for the first time in 2006, with the Royals winning a record 106 points and finishing with a goal difference of plus 67.

The following season the Royals' attractive brand of football saw them achieve a remarkable eighth place finish in the Premier League, above the likes of Aston Villa, Newcastle, West Ham and Manchester City. It was the stuff of dreams. But reality bit in a big way in their second season in the top flight and the club were relegated on goal difference.

I must admit that I thought Reading would bounce straight back - that keeping hold of Coppell would prove to be a decisive factor. The fact he walked out of Manchester City in mysterious circumstances after 33 days back in 1996 probably means there will always be doubts about his ability to handle stress at the very top level. But he is clearly a very good manager whose time at Reading was a definite success.

He possesses a sharp, dry wit (Question from press after defeat to Burnley - what are you going to do now Steve? Answer - I'll probably play golf tomorrow.) And in some ways he almost seems a bit of a throwback to a previous era. A former economics student who drives to training in a car many of Reading's supporters could afford, there is nothing flash or celebrity about Coppell but he is a very good football manager.

His teams play attractive football - they might have lost to Burnley but the Royals played some stunning attacking stuff and their defeat is more about missed chances than anything else - while a steady calm and sense of equilibrium surrounds his sides.

Having said all of that, it might well be the right time for a change at Reading. There is certainly no point in Coppell staying if he does not want to be there and the decisiveness of his resignation suggests a man who knows his time is up. Coppell perhaps succumbed to emotion last summer and was not willing to chance a repeat.

I have been to a few games at Reading recently and been decidedly underwhelmed by the lack of excitement about the place even though they had been close to promotion.

The fact that fans did not see their team win at home for nine games is probably a key factor in that but I hope they do not let the recent disappointments cloud their judgement.

The greatest era in Reading's history took place under Coppell and he rightly leaves with his pride intact.

The question is - who next?


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  • Comment number 1.

    Shame to see Coppell go, I hope he returns to management after a short break.
    But what next for reading? who can they turn towards to secure promotion next season?

  • Comment number 2.


  • Comment number 3.

    The question is - who next?

    Alan Curbishley please

  • Comment number 4.

    The question is - who next?

    A = Chelsea

  • Comment number 5.

    Steve Coppell is an absolute legend and a great man as well as manager - he has achieved so much with the clubs he has managed and it is a shame that he is leaving Reading as i think they are a decent, well run club whose Chairman is decent as well.

    Hopefully he will get back into football soon - and as importantly hopefully Reading will get a decent manager to replace him.

    Fine margins football - i wonder if he would have left if they had won last night and ultimately got back in the premier league.

    Good luck to him!

  • Comment number 6.

    I dont know whos next, but, Steve Coppell is one of the best managers ever to manage a football club and I certainly would like him to manage some club in premiership. Nothing flashy,dramatic and fakeness about the man unlike Morinhos and Fergies of the industry. You will be sorely missed Steve if you decide to stay away.

  • Comment number 7.

    I like Steve Coppell both as a man and a manager - but I don't believe that this is the end of him in football. He's "retired" twice before but always been drawn back. However, he seems like a person who struggles to pull himself through the bad times. When he's enjoying it their are few better. But when he's not he has never appeared to be one who enjoys the knuckling down and getting on with the job element when he's not. When he's not enjoying it is ver apparent to the outside world.

    I'm not sure he's enjoyed this season at all, but I do hope he comes again.

    For Reading it is the biggest decision that they will ever make. One more year to bounce back (the second and final year of the dreaded "parachute payments"). Failure to do it next season and they have to let their best players (Doyle, Bikey, Harper, Hunt) leave and cut their cloth accordingly to being a mid table team. From there you can sink even further pretty quickly. Just ask Nowrich, or Southampton indeed.

    Who should they go for? Aidy Boothroyd is the one outstnading candidate that I can see. Paul Jewell maybe?

  • Comment number 8.

    Gutted to see him go, but can't help feeling after last season and now this that perhaps, he doesn't take loosing so well. Why should he. Take a break for a while come back around christmas and stop some premiership team getting relegated....

  • Comment number 9.

    In an extremely selfish way, I, as a Birmingham fan, did not want Reading up. You have some extremely good players who I can only wish graced the Birmingham squad, and your failure to secure promotion might contribute to making that wish reality!

  • Comment number 10.

    What a brilliantly dignified man Coppell is Fletch and one that many could learn from. He's obviously as baffled as everyone else as to the reason or reasons for Reading's collapse in home form and has held his hands up and admitted as such. No blaming the ref, cursing injury misfortune, the media etc, just an acceptance of accountabilty. Hope he comes back somewhere else but have a feeling that he's done.

    I was amazed to see so many empty seats last night and suspect that their fan base isn't big enough to sustain a proper run of seasons in the Premier League. Perhaps the Championship is their level.

  • Comment number 11.

    I do not understand the essence of the play offs. Is it to make extra money? becuase if the bottom three are relgated from th epremiership at the end of the season, why can't the first three from the championship be promoted please? It's somehow unfair cos this gives the team from the 6th position the chance to be promoted to the premiership...

  • Comment number 12.

    But OH Reading fans? That's it all over! You will never get so close again I reckon.

  • Comment number 13.

    Collie 21 ... what a super comment. Thanks for the input. Well done.

    PS - we'll be back stronger and hungrier next season.

  • Comment number 14.

    Neilsthings, I would hope so, but I can't see it happening, I have watched the Irish contingent there with interest, and sorry if it sounded like a wind up, wasn't meant to be. But I really think a new guy will need time to settle and by the time he does, next season will be gone along with some of your squad.

  • Comment number 15.

    Steve Coppell has been super for Reading but it was the players and the Chairman who let him down. If only the Chairman had given him some of the millions made in the last three seasons, instead of lavishing the money elsewhere, the manager could have strengthened the squad to gain promotion. It also has not helped that the Chairman has stated over the last 18 months that the club is for sale, therefore he is ultimately responsible. The problem with Reading like many other teams is that the expectation of the fans is naturally high, but in reality we simply werent good enough to seal promotion and whats the point of going up if we come straight back down. In that scenario only the Chairman will benefit from banking a few more million. Next season we have to spend more money on players and replace the very ones who havent been commited, or shown the skill to compete.

  • Comment number 16.

    Coppell is a legend, a gent and a top bloke. He plays the game right and it's a tragedy that there aren't more people in and around football like Steve Coppell.
    I hope he stays in the game, maybe at a big club if he wants it. If Steve Tilson wasn't so good i'd want him at Southend, I just hope Reading don't come after Tilson.
    Any club in the world could do no better than have a man like Coppell in charge

  • Comment number 17.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 18.

    As a Loyal Royal I have been proud to call Steve Coppell our manager for the last 5 seasons, during which time the highs have vastly outweighed the lows. He is one of very few true statesmen left in the game.
    Moving on, as we must, I wonder if Stuart Pearce fancies another club job, espesially one so near to home.

  • Comment number 19.

    So one of football's few remaining gentlemen has gone. And unlike so many bigger names in the game (and smaller, but wealthier, ones on the pitch at the Madejski) Steve has put pride before pay-packet and fallen on his sword.

    Steve is the first to accept that he was ultimately responsible for not getting Reading back up. However, he and most Reading fans know that key players failed to deliver when it was needed. The century started so well and yet there's a fin-du-siecle (regime?) feel about this moment; and with the honourable Madejski looking himself for a way out, I just hope The Board take their time and get the right man. I can see the pre-season promotions already: buy one (season ticket) get one free! Perhaps it's not all bad news, then?

    Personally, in these times of intense scrutiny of undeserved wealth, I'd like to see win bonuses re-introduced and deductions made for poor performance. Think the unthinkable!

    Whilst I was brought up on Robin Friday, times have changed and its obvious that too many Friday nights have taken their toll.

    Thanks for everything, Steve, and good luck for the future!

  • Comment number 20.

    Coppell's ran out of ideas!?.... I can promise you that falling on his sword was not the answer. I cant help feeling he did it out of a misplaces sense of honour rather than for real football reasons. If I were his boss I would have ripped up the resignation letter and told him I will see him when he gets back from a nice long relaxing holiday. Winners never quit, quitters never win!

  • Comment number 21.

    People need to get real, we didn't play good football for the majority of this season. The Championship is quite poor and despite Reading's 'good' players, a lot of them were sidetracked by bigger things. We really don't need the likes of Steven Hunt or Dave Kitson to try and re-live former glories, nor should we. The club need to wise up and learn from defeats (and relegation) and not rely on recent success as that breeds complacency.

    As for a replacement...there are many options. However, in true Reading fashion, they will likely promote from within. Whilst I'm happy for this to happen, if it doesn't work then I hope Madejski will not just let things evaporate before him and just rely on a natural conclusion to be reached. Show some balls Madejski, instead just wanting to sell the club at the best opportunity. If he wants the best for the club, prove it and get the best that is available.

    We probably won't be back in the Premiership for at least another three seasons, but as long as we return to playing intelligent football with some inspired signings after weeding out the poison, we'll be just fine.

  • Comment number 22.

    Dave Ivermee, take a bow son

  • Comment number 23.

    Thanks for everything steve, you took us to places we could only dream of. Winning the Championship with the record points total, just missing out on Europe! Unbelievable!
    Unfortunately a combination of the players and perhaps being too close to the problem have culminated in us just falling short of the mark.
    Steve has always come across as a really honest, intelligent and caring man. Any football club should be so lucky to have someone like him manage them.
    But I do think that if he left or not, things needed to be shaken up. Things have become stale. Our squad list is huge! How many will go in the summer, I guess we'll just have to wait and see. I do believe that we have the bones of a good squad, some excellent youth players coming through, such as Alex Pearce. But a refresh up front is desperately needed I think. I wish we had the option of a big, strong, powerful presence up front, like a Cameron Jerome.

  • Comment number 24.

    I can see the reason for the playoffs, as it provides a lot of teams with something to play for right until the end of the season, but it can be gutting for the side that finishes 3rd if they miss out. However I think there is a better way, one which keeps the "something to play for" aspect and also rewards the teams in the playoff based on their position.

    For this season, the positions were:

    3rd Sheff United
    4th Reading
    5th Burnley
    6th Preston

    and currently the only advantage gained from a higher position is that you get to play the 2nd leg at home. The alternative would provide fewer games, but would increase the chances of Sheff United going up as a reward for coming 3rd.

    Instead of having the 2 leg semi-finals to decide the final Sheff United would automatically gain one of the final slots. Reading would have a one off game at home to play for the other slot, with their opponents being the winner of Burnley v Preston (with Burnley having the home advantage for their game).

    In this way, there would only be 3 games instead of 5 but it would mean the following:

    Preston would have to win 2 away games and the final
    Burnley would have to win 1 home game, 1 away game and the final
    Reading would have to win 1 home game and the final
    Sheff United would just have to win the final

    The likelyhood of the team that finished 3rd getting promoted would be increased dramatically, which is fair based on their seasons efforts, while preserving the possibility for the team that comes 6th.

    I really think this would work and be fairer than the current system.

    Any thoughts?

  • Comment number 25.

    When we look back in five or ten years time, surely we will appreciate fully that Coppell has been 'historically' by far the best, and with the best results, of any manager Reading FC have had since 1871!

  • Comment number 26.

    'A former economics student who drives to training in a car many of Reading's supporters could afford . . .'

    Ironically enough, this type of comment is at the root of many of the issues you raise in your columns. I understand that you've qualified it in part by what follows, but the fact that there's an implication that those who can afford flash cars would necesarily be driving them defeats the position you often take on the very real financial problems facing clubs outside the Premiership. In other words, the mere comment places you among the understanding of those who actually do behave in such a manner and thus perpetuate the problems you address, in which case you seem to be inadvertently supporting their position, which in turn defeats your own. Not all of us think or behave in this way, and it's perhaps irresponsible to suggest that this is the common pattern of contemporary thought. Not all of us have sought, or could bear to be around, wives like Ashley Cole's. And this is not an opinion removed from its subject.

  • Comment number 27.

    Out of ideas? Coppell has been in management for 25 years. He's obviously tired of management - hasn't he "retired" several times already? Playoffs are a bit of a lottery anyway - he is not out of ideas. He's simply grown out of management.

  • Comment number 28.

    He did great things but i have never had that much time for him, saying that he has been let down by player he trusted and in many way "made" Hunt, Little, Kitson and others let him down big time. Hunt gave up on Feb 1st and hasn't been the same player since. Kitson - well why did you bother coming back? Glen, love you fella but time to jack in i'm sorry to say.

    I'd like to see Ince or Brenden Rodgers or even dear i say it Pards...

  • Comment number 29.

    The people who describe Coppell as a dignified man are absolutely spot on but I think that he felt it was time for a change, that perhaps things had become a touch stale - for him and the club.

    boomshakalak is correct to say football is about fine margins and had Reading scored when they were on top in the first half on Tuesday it might have been a very different story. But the awful home form cannot be ignored.

    An interesting summer lies in store at Reading.

  • Comment number 30.

    mediocre club who couldn't even sell out for a play-off game. Out of your depth and never really did much for the league. Say hello to league 1 at the end of next season.

  • Comment number 31.

    A fantastic manager and I think it would be foolish for Premiership chairman to overlook him, and with the Portsmouth and likely the Sunderland job being vacant in the summer, who knows, Coppell would be a great choice for either.
    Maybe even Newcastle? If Mr Shearer really does think he's leaving.

    As for Reading, Curbishley would be the ideal choice, a man with a track record of promotion, battling relegation and establishing teams in the premier league, largely on a limited budget too.
    Aidy Boothroyd would also be a good choice in my opinion.

    I'd expect Reading to be right in the thick of it next season, as though they will most likely lose Stephen Hunt, James Harper and Kevin Doyle, they will recoup good money there, which would be available and still have a spine of very good championship players.

  • Comment number 32.

    Coweslepe - thanks very much for your post. I have read it quite a few times now and think I know what you are trying to say.

    However, I think you have misunderstood the point I was trying to make - though I accept I could possibly have made it in a slightly less ambiguous manner.

    I like the fact Coppell's car is not flash - it hints at a man with his feet on the ground, who understands and belongs to the normal, ordinary world. It shows that people can have money - which Coppell must surely have - without being flashy.

    I'm not really a big fan of player as celebrity. I was raised to believe that the bond between supporter and player is important and should be strong. At the top level I see it becoming an increasingly peripheral matter and it saddens me.

    What I don't understand in your post is this part: "In other words, the mere comment places you among the understanding of those who actually do behave in such a manner and thus perpetuate the problems you address."

  • Comment number 33.

    One thing no-one has addressed about the play-offs is the ability to cope with the big stage.
    The Premier League is a different world to the football league, and the ability to cope with the pressure of a big occasion can be a factor in how well a club does in the top-flight.
    As a general rule i favour a league system as that rewards consistancy over the whole season, but the play-offs keep things interesting but also give players a real stern test under pressure which will be closer to the league above.
    This comes from a Southend fan who would love to be in the play-offs more often, or even once if we won them

  • Comment number 34.

    24 - Sounds too much like the Rugby League playoff system, which i'm not a big fan of.

  • Comment number 35.

    Reading are not a Premier League team, and have only enjoyed success in recent years due to an extraordinary manager. Yes, it could be continued with a similar manager. Without such a person, Reading's future will be in the Champions League and League 1.

  • Comment number 36.

    Of course the play-offs are a money spinner. They also add an element of excitement for the teams that dont occupy the top two and those that are chasing 6th place.

    I found out the hard way as my team (Cardiff) got knocked out by a deserving Preston.

    One way to avoid heartbreak is to make sure you get into those two automatic spots!

  • Comment number 37.

    A refreshing change to see a man take responsibility for a failure and actually mean it.

    If I were chairman of another club I'd give Coppell a job immediately as this ability to genuinely accept responsibility is such a rare commodity these days that he deserves to go on doing a job he obviously cares deeply about and will succeed at - probably again spectacularly - in future.

  • Comment number 38.

    24 - although i fully understand the validity of your point, there is a huge flipside to organising the playoffs in this way. In fact both the Guiness Premiership and the SuperLeague organise their grand finals in this way. However usually the best placed team doesn't end up winning the tournament. The problem with a system like that is that the lower seeded team would have played and won games to get to the final, giving them an edge in both fitness, and more importantly confidence as they were after having semi-final victories under their belts, whereas the top seeded team doesn't play a match since the end of the regular season until the final, losing them match practice & more often than not momentum.

    Also i do agree with playoffs, purely for the fact that it adds interest to the league. If 3 teams went up and 3 down the interest in lower leagues from fans of Epl clubs would decrease dramatically, as a significant amount of entertainment would have been taken away (and spectator sports ultimately have to be both entertaining and profitable, to have a successful level of coorperate interest) Furthermore it gives far many more teams something to play for, giving less irrelevant mid-tables fixtures to the league.

    Anyways about Coppell, i rate him as a manager, as a former player and a person. He took crystal palace to 3rd remember!! Wish him a happy reirement because i believe he's had enough, though if he changed his mind again id be happy to see him back. Also if he does retire fofr good I would like him to have a journalistic input into the game, whether as a pundit or writer or whatever. His opinions and insights on soccer are far more superior than most of the Paul DRoss on tv or in newspapers.

    Oh and i want the clarets to beat the blades!!

  • Comment number 39.

    Always thought Coppell was a good manager and a thoroughly nice chap during his brief sojourn at Brighton. Having left to join a club with a decent stadium, he has shown since just how good he is by making Reading into a top of the Championship / Premiership club - his successor will have a hard act to follow. Good luck in whatever you decide to do, Steve...

  • Comment number 40.

    Does Scotland still do the second top from League 2 play second bottom from league one as a playoff system?

  • Comment number 41.

    NeilR2000- I know that the Champions league has more than just the champions of a country in, but to add championship teams to the mix might be a bit much...

  • Comment number 42.

    YellowMilton wrote:

    "mediocre club who couldn't even sell out for a play-off game. Out of your depth and never really did much for the league. Say hello to league 1 at the end of next season"

    I take it from that desperate comment that you are a "Narch" fan ?

    Wake up and smell the coffee mate !!!

  • Comment number 43.

    Coppell was brilliant for Reading, the promotion and first year in the Premier league were as good an experience as a football supporter can get outside the top 4. Madejski gts many oftheplaudits buit the truth is that he failed to invest at the crucial moment and missed the big opportunity to establish Reading in the top league. Sidwell was never replaced and a succession of cheap buys - Cisse Fae especially - failed to come off. The end has come because so many of the great Reading players, Doyle, Kitson, Hunt in particular, lost form at the same time and the others were revealed to be not good enough. Madejski faces his second big crunch - the squad now has to be rebuilt by a new manager but is he brave enough to invest to thrive?

  • Comment number 44.

    Football management is a highly pressured job and very few managers know when it is the right time to go.Coppell did and realised that it is better to go of your own volition than wait for the sack. Once it is difficult to motivate yourself it becomes impossible to motivate players.
    More managers should do the same. For most, 5 years at a club is quite enough (although many would love to be given that long) and Coppell has done the right thing for himself and for Reading.
    Having said that I suspect that Reading may well be the next Charlton. Low fan base, anonymous stadium, small town. Coppell took them much further than they had any right to expect.

  • Comment number 45.

    A curious decision, and whoever succeeds him has a tough act to follow. One thing I can say for certain; I think any Championship team would be more than happy to have him as their manager.

  • Comment number 46.

    He is a mananger of high integrity - shame a lot more are not like him - and I'd love to see him back at Crystal Palace, but that won't happen with Jordan there

  • Comment number 47.

    I'm not surprised that Steve Coppell resigned as he's always been man enough to leave a job when he's felt that he could'nt do more with the club concerned. Let's hope it's not the last we see of him managing a decent club. I think that Reading might be in danger of some of their players leaving for the Premiership after this.

  • Comment number 48.

    Coppell could do worse than take a year out of the game in order to recharge his batteries before taking over from Moyes at Everton at the end of next season. Steve deserves another opportunity at a big club and his brief tenure at City, far from highlighting his inabilty to deal with stress at the highest level, merely confirms how astute he was in recognising what an unmanageable shambles he had unwittingly walked in to. Knowing the flak he was bound to attract, it actually took courage to walk away after only 33 days; the subsequent rebuilding of his career and City's ongoing troubles fully bear this decision out. As for there being a vacancy at Everton, that will be a consequence of Moyes having taken over from Ferguson at Utd.
    As a side note, Coppell's early retirement, his success as a manager and steadfast aversion to the limelight have all tended to obscure what a great player he was. A genuine Utd legend amongst fans who remember the barnstorming era of Tommy Docherty with affection and, I would go so far as to state, a player who wasn't truly replaced in the England team until the emergence of Beckham a good generation afterwards.
    The fact that he seems such a decent, genuine individual is testament to him as a person irrespective of his abilities. If only Ronaldo had been similarly blessed with Coppell's temperament......

  • Comment number 49.

    It's a sad day, and I don't even support Reading. However, unless you're blind, you could see this coming from a mile off. Coppell usually had a poker face in interviews, but he seemed to let it slip and began to loosen up and smile more (sounds silly but tis true).

    He probably planned to resign(and retire?) months in advance and was just enjoying the experience rather than seeing it as a stressful time.

    Good luck to Reading next season, the injury to Doyle (a premiership footballer imo) hampered your cause.

  • Comment number 50.

    "the Royals played some stunning attacking stuff" - erm, not last night Mr Fletcher (which game were you watching?), nor have they done so for a good while, I'm truly sorry to report. They've simply run out of ideas up front. Last night they had one footballer - in the true sense - Matejovsky - ie someone who could pass the ball and pull strings in midfield. So why was he taken off? I think it is best for all concerned to have a new broom, maybe one with more ambition and one who can prise a bit more wonga from Mr Madje's wallet, but it's shame on Kitson, Bikey, Hunt, Lita and all the other prima donnas who let Coppell down.

    Always next season...

  • Comment number 51.

    As to who would take over, I can guarantee if it's Paul Ince you lot are doomed.

  • Comment number 52.

    #40 1ronjaw

    The second bottom team in League 1 will play 4th team in League 2. (Second and third in league 2 are in the other play-off.) The same applies for Leagues two and three. I personally dislike play-offs, surely a league is a league? Having said that if the powers that be insist on the extra income then the system adopted in Scotland and used in other European countries seems just a little fairer to me.

  • Comment number 53.

    Get coppel involved in England Set up...HEs a great Talent

    Has been a manager for over 20 Years he needs to be part of the set up

  • Comment number 54.

    48 - Seannie Price: "I would go so far as to state, a player who wasn't truly replaced in the England team until the emergence of Beckham a good generation afterwards".

    Ludicrous! About 3 or 4 years after Coppell retired we had Chris Waddle - possibly the greatest right winger England have had since Sir Stanley Matthews, even if he was left footed!

  • Comment number 55.

    Well, thanks and goodbye Steve. Greatest manager we've ever had but I feel his loyalty to a few players that have underperformed for too long has cost us promotion. There is no doubt that we will get jettison some of these players over the summer and I personally cant wait to see the back of them. Paving the way for our talented youngsters that have been doing so well out on loan this season. The next manager will have to be given time as I can see next season as being a transition period for us.

    I can only see the next appointment as being Tisdale, Brian McDermott(reserve team manager) or Aidy boothroyd.

  • Comment number 56.

    Clearly well likely by the majority of posts and football family in general. Also in my opinion done a pretty sound job, however is the nice chap, well grounded, not ther most emotive type of comment ever going to get you any further in the world of football?

    I'm not sure even if Coppell wants to remain in management that any Prem side would even consdider him. His episode at City only backs this up that many would have reservations about him at the top level at a bigger club (never really know how to define this, without offending everyone)

    I suspect Coppell's had enough and will find it easy to walk away from footy, much like Mick Channon. Best of luck to him

  • Comment number 57.

    Nice Guy. Shame he didnt get them up as going to Reading last season was an OK venue and good set up. Instead, we get the tumbledown Turf Moor possibly, maybe Bramall Lane (good atmosphere there) and help us all, the awful dump that is Birminghams St Andrews. Reading though arguably have the best players in the promotion chasing pack and they have badly underachieved. Look at Wolves, with only one player in the squad with Prem experience, therein lies the difference. It makes you wonder where Reading go from here, but they have a good owner.

    SC will be back. Ive no doubt about that.

  • Comment number 58.

    as a Crystal Palace supporter I would have him back like a shot .... He was and always will be our most successful manager. FA Cup Final, 2 League Cup Semi's, ZDS Winners (i know!!!but you take what you can at our place!!) Premiership 3rd place (would have been europe apart from england still being banned) and a ccuple of promossions (sp?).

    The thing i'm worried about is that it is a recurring theme with him, he was with Palace for approx the same ammount of time (10/11 years) and he quoted the same reasons for leaving us as well!!!

    Hope its not and as someone has already said, there are a few Premiership sides that could do a lot worse than appoint Stevie as their manager!!!

  • Comment number 59.

    24- I completely agree with this idea, something I have advocated for a while. Detractors say it doesn't work in rugby because the teams that have to qualify have the edge through match sharpness etc but conversley they could be more tired and pick up injuries. It's quite clear the current football system doesn't work as third place teams often don't go up. Any system like this that rewards the teams on where they finish has to be a good thing and any sixth place team that does get through and win can quite rightly say they thoroughly earned it.

  • Comment number 60.

    sign him on for middlesbrough ...he has proved he can work with little money

  • Comment number 61.

    A genuine football person. Steve Coppell has done a great job at Reading working closely with Sir John Madejski, good luck to him for the future. I would not be surprised to see the next manager of Reading being Brendan Rodgers! He knows Reading FC inside out and has done a fantastic job when he was in charge of the Academy. The experience that he has gained at Chelsea and in his current job at Watford will make him a prime candidate to mount a challenge again for the Premiership next season. Sir John Madejski does not seem a person who takes too many risks, he will stick with someome he knows and trusts, Brendan Rodgers fits the bill perfectly. (Sorry Watford Fans).

  • Comment number 62.

    royalmurph - don't let last night's result or the home form of late cloud your judgement of Reading's performance in the first half. The Royals really took it to Burnley. Unfortunately for them they failed to score when they really needed to - the opening goal was always going to be crucial.

    Steve Coppell said last night that he was going to play golf today - I wonder whether his swing has become suddenly free and easy.

  • Comment number 63.

    #54 Westdrop

    Waddle was a fine player but he wouldn't have got in to any team at the expense of a fit Coppell. In order to lambast Dave Sexton's boring style of football whilst boss of Utd, Tommy Docherty claimed that Sexton had turned Coppell into the country's best rightback. Whilst intended as criticism, it also highlighted just what a complete player Coppell was. He may not have had Waddle's skill on the ball but he was far more effective. Waddle was a throwback to the mavericks of the 70's, players like Stan Bowles and Charlie George, Alan Hudson and Tony Currie. Perversely, if Waddle had been passed over by Bobby Robson like Ramsay, Revie and Greenwood did with these undoubted talents, then he would probably be more highly rated and spoken about as an 'if only' player - 'if only Robson had picked Waddle, England would have won the '90 World Cup'. Unfortunately though he won 62 caps and, like his contemporary John Barnes, too often failed to transfer his club form to the national team. In contrast, I would guess that Coppell was the first pick for every England team that he appeared in.

  • Comment number 64.

    Can't disagree that he stuck to the old crowd for too long - Hunt, Little, Hanneman, Harper, when he should have been building a team around Mateovsky, Doyle, Pearce, Karacan, Federici. Got away with it during the first two thirds of the season, but came back to bite us in the final third.

    That said, having Coppell as your manager enabled you to discuss football with your head held high - none of the whining, moaning, wingeing about referees, bad luck with injuries from Coppell - just plain common sense. Has anyone ever heard any player or manager have a bad word to say about Coppell ? Ferguson, Morinho, Wenger, may have won more trophies and be more successful managers than Coppell, they may make better press on a Sunday morning with their vitriloic comments and ranting, but as individuals none of them are fit to wipe his boots.

    Good luck in the future Steve, whatever you do I am sure you will be successful at it.

    For Reading, we now need to build a team around Tabb - a great performance last night - and Mateovsky.

  • Comment number 65.

    Coppell is one of those ndividuals that make you proud to be a part of the human race. Yesterday was a terrible day for Reading not only on their loss but also for there even bigger loss of Steve Coppell. I am really hopeing to see them return to top flight football soon but don't know who can take them there.

  • Comment number 66.

    Steve Coppell is a very decent bloke and a very good manager. But as an England player ? Not in the same class as Waddle, Hoddle, Currie etc. etc. To poster # 63 : Waddle played for an England team who got very close to getting into a World Cup Final. Coppell played regularly for an England team that couldn' t even qualify for tournaments.

  • Comment number 67.

    what a shame a man of his calibre has possibly quit the game, albiet maybe only for a while.
    Contrast Reading s achievements against Oxford United s. A few years ago they were in the same league. Now Oxford are in the Conference for at least another season whereas Reading have risen to the prem and then sadly fell into the Championship and will remain there for at least 1 more season.
    As an Oxford fan I know which Chairman and managers have done the better job over the years. And it is nt Kassam or the host of managers he bought in.
    Don t feel too bad Reading fans, you could be where we are.

  • Comment number 68.

    Firstly I want to thank Steve for giving everyone a remarkable ride during his tenure.

    An absolute gent & he'll be remembered at Reading forever.

    However.....this is not the end for Reading. Do not forget we were building strongly under Pardew & we were 3rd in the league when Pardew left for West Ham.

    The time was right for Steve to go. He looked tired & jaded & I do feel it had an effect on the players. I suspect that behind the scenes, the players knew he was going to leave. In hindsight, I think he should perhaps have left last season as this year has been nothing but a grind for him.

    Time for a clear out - get rid of the players who think they're too good for Reading & lets see the youngsters get a go.

    Also - Sir John needs to ask himself if he actually wants this club back in the PL or not. Some level of investment is needed if the answer is yes. Things have gone a bit stale & it all needs freshening up.

    I for one am quite excited about it all & want to see Ince get the job.

    Good luck for the future Steve!

  • Comment number 69.

    perfectloyalroyal - completely agree about Tabb!! He is a future Reading captain.

  • Comment number 70.

    Stevie Coppell leaving Reading is such a shame. He is a fantastic manager and a genuinely good man who deserved the respect he had of all around him. Its just a shame his players let him down in their inability to score the goals at the time they were most needed both this season and next. How many of them will desert Reading now in their want for Premiership glory and how many in a couple of months be regretting that just as Dave Kitson did this year. It would be a shame if lots of players walked away and ruined all of the good work Stevie had done. Good luck Steve hope whatever you do in your next step of your life.

  • Comment number 71.

    Stand up for the Steve Coppell!!
    Thank you, thank you , thank you for everything you have done for the club. I am gutted to see you go but wish you all the very best for the future.

  • Comment number 72.

    Steve Coppell has a quality that's rare in professional football. Honesty.

    If Mr Coppell decides to leave professional football for good, the game will be so much the worse off. I for one, (of many it seems here), wish him well and thank him for his contribution, as both player and manager, to the professional game in this country.

    I hope he returns.

  • Comment number 73.

    Lets set it straight

    Coppell is a Reading legend who brought about the most successful period in our history. Full Stop
    He cannot be blamed for the poor season on the pitch, and can not be blamed for not strengthening off it. His loyal players let him down all season (Doyle apart from at the start, S.Hunt and Harper all had poor season and looked disinterested and almost arrogant).

    He is right that it is time for a change in players and staff, and I beleive the key to our success will be Matejovsky. The fans love him and get behind him and he can do stuff no-one else in our team can. As i was there in both games, you could see a total lack of confidence against birmingham and burnley and we looked hopeless and helpless.

    Time for change. Matejovksy is the future.

  • Comment number 74.

    As a Chelsea fan I'm delighted that your staying in the Championship. The media seem to be in love with you lot for some reason. Dirty players like Stephen Hunt belong in the Championship as does Reading FC. Reading are simply not big enough to warrant a place in the Premier League.

  • Comment number 75.

    Good blog, Fletch, I think you're spot on about SC. A genuine and honest man who has achieved great things at Reading FC.
    I also agree with earlier posters that he did look tired and frustrated during the recent slump of form and that may well have had an influence on the players.
    All in all, I am pleased that Stevie has managed to leave his post with grace and his reputation fully intact. Don't know what he'll move on to but if he ever wants a game of golf in the Reading area, get him to email me :-)
    So who's next? Well I like Alan Curbishley, as an earlier poster suggested. Aidi Boothroyd and Paul Jewell could be the motivators the team needs right now. Don't really think we want Pards back and Heaven preserve us from Paul Ince or Tony Adams.
    Now here's a thought - Gareth Southgate might be out of a job soon...

  • Comment number 76.

    Please take Gareth Southgate ........ PLEASE

  • Comment number 77.


    "Reading are simply not big enough to warrant a place in the Premier League......"

    Interesting statement for a fan of classless, largely unremarkable club who throughout the decades warrant no more than they achieved, namely second division football. The only way your club has ever sustained sucess is through the short cut of money, you never earnt success or deserved it, you bought it. Pipe down, because you warrant your place based on merit not size or a pathetic financial advantage. I'm sure someone else will be quick to point this out when Abramovich leaves and you go under, as attendances fall and you pay the price for you greedy way.

    Pick on a club you think is your own size but then again you clearly make the distinction can you?

  • Comment number 78.

    77. At 6:47pm on 13 May 2009, Xavierneville wrote:


    "Reading are simply not big enough to warrant a place in the Premier League......"

    Interesting statement for a fan of classless, largely unremarkable club who throughout the decades warrant no more than they achieved, namely second division football. The only way your club has ever sustained sucess is through the short cut of money, you never earnt success or deserved it, you bought it. Pipe down, because you warrant your place based on merit not size or a pathetic financial advantage. I'm sure someone else will be quick to point this out when Abramovich leaves and you go under, as attendances fall and you pay the price for you greedy way.

    Pick on a club you think is your own size but then again you clearly make the distinction can you?


    YAWN. Check the history books before Mr Abramovich arrived at Chelsea. We finished 4th in the League without spending a penny that season and the check our attendance before he arrived too. When we pipped Liverpool to the last CL place the game was a sell out. (check it out)

    We also won 2 FA Cups, a Cup Winners Cup, a Super Cup and a League Cup during the 90s. We also finished 3rd in 2000 a few points off top spot.

    HOW do you think Reading reached the PL by the way? It might have something to do with Mr Madejski's cheque book. You should pipe down pal.

  • Comment number 79.

    All you're bothered about is one challenge which was legitimate and never intended any what?

    Anyhow the amount spent by Reading was insignificant compared to pre Abramovich let alone before you spent stupid cash on Duff, Wright Phillips etc

    You just typify what most fans in football think about your club, no class and most of your players act like children when they don't get their way. Your have player who is england Captain yet acts like a thug, a centre forwards who brood like emotional teenagers and a german international who can barely control himself around referees yet thinks nothing of a dirty foul when it suits....

    If your such a big club why pick on Reading? Because you have no class!
    Do you know everyone sniggers at your club, and yet you're astonsihed and wounded when people say such things........why because you court it.

    As I said you will get what you deserve when your Russian sugar daddy goes and the club cannot stay afloat based on previous excess.

  • Comment number 80.

    I was going to let this pass me by, but the comments by the Chelsea "fan" incense me. This is just the attitude of a modern day 'fan'. Who do you think you are? "Not big enough for the Premier League" - that's a disgraceful comment to say, not just for the likes of Reading but for all clubs who ever dare to aspire to the Premier League. We don't need your pseudo-snobbish attitude nor would anyone from Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham or some decent London clubs would come out with such utter garbage. And believe me, I know first hand from another Chelsea convert, I've heard this all before.

    Like Xavierneville says, you've got no earned class - just the usual playground bully that thinks its very clever to pick on the smaller kid because it's the easy target. Clever, very clever.

    (P.S. If Hunt is a dirty player, then Drogba is as clean as a choirboy. Get over it.)

  • Comment number 81.

    Hearts fan in peace. Sorry to see Steve stand down, as many have said he was a thoroughly decent and honest guy, both as a player and manager (even if I didn't care for some of his performances for England against the Scots!) As for potential replacements, what about Fergie junior, who seems to be doing a great job with Peterborough. I've been wondering if a bigger club might take a chance on him on the basis that it looks like he may have inherited some of his dad's managerial ability.

  • Comment number 82.

    #66 sirrodneymarsh Steve Coppell's England career ran from about 1978 to about 1983. He played in the European Championships of 1980 and the World Cup of 1982 - two of the three tournaments which took place during his career. The third, Argentina 78, was already beyond England by the time Coppell was a regular in the side. Waddle is not fit to lace his boots.

  • Comment number 83.

    Well i for one am sorry to see Steve Copell go, but on balance now is probobly the right time for him to leave. Steve has been the best manager this club have ever had, we are disapointed to finnish 4th for goodness sake !!! before Steve came along we would have been happy to avoid relegation in the championship. His sides have always played good attractice football and he strikes me as a decent guy who is genuinly sorry for not getting the club promoted, How many of the plays feel the same way!!!!. Some of the players have obvioulsy been keen to get way form the club for the past six months and they will no get there wish.

    Good luck Steve in what ever you do next, you will always be welcome back at reading as far as i'm concerned.

  • Comment number 84.

    Not sure that Reading will get a better manager than the one they just lost. I know it was his decision, but I think the board should have done a better job at trying to keep him.

    You never know what you're going to end up with, and with Coppell that had someone who understood how to play football attractively without breaking the bank. The fact a club like Reading got promoted, survived their first season and nearly made it back this season is leaps and bounds ahead of what similarly sized clubs would have done on the same money.

    In a way it's like his football career. His injury stole one of the best players of a generation. I don't get why he thought this season was a failure though. His team were desperately unlucky, and for a club this size, continually challenging for promotion to the Premiership means they were still heading in the right direction.

  • Comment number 85.

    I am neither a Reading nor Man U fan and my club has had no involvement with Steve Coppell so I am a neutral...

    I wish that every manager in our game had the same level of quiet competence and complete integrity as Steve Coppell.

    I wish that every player had his skill and vision and the same strength of character.

    I firmly believe that if all managers and players managed and played like him our game would be in much better shape and the only headlines would be on the back page where they belong.

    I sincerely hope Steve stays in the game because it cannot afford to lose real men like this one - in fact lets make him CEO of the Premier League and Chairman of the FA - then FIFA

    Just think of it - a great player, great manager and a great person in charge of our game - or is it too much to ask...

  • Comment number 86.

    I'm not quite sure how these "rumours" have been circulating for just months when it's been odds-on since last summer that Coppell would go. He had to be persuaded to stay on as Reading manager after their relegation last season and ever since then it hasn't been so much a case of "whether" as "when".

  • Comment number 87.

    Have never really read these blogs before but had a read because it was about Reading and then felt compelled to sign up to respond to some of the absolute garbage that is written by people that clearly know nothing about the game!

    Pinju 25 is one of the few people to post anything sensible. As he/she says, the Championship is of as poor a standard this season as it has been for many years and Reading are, unfortunately, nothing more than a mediocre side within it. I can only assume that people who talk about our star players like Hunt, Kitson etc have not visited the Madejski stadium this term. These players have been exceptionally poor and are really the ones to blame for the season not ending in promotion. I would like to see a couple of things in the summer:
    - A big clear out of our overhyped/over the hill players such as Hahnemann, Duberry, Hunt, Gunnarsson, Duberry, Harper, Kebe, Lita etc as well as sending Little and Kitson back from their loan spells
    - Appoint a manager who is prepared to build a side consisting of some of our academy graduates around some older model pros. We have invested a lot of money in the youth set up and players like Pearce and Henry have performed better than some of their more illustious counterparts when given their chance in my opinion.

    I suspect we will be lucky to keep Doyle but for me the starting 11 for the 1st day of next season - Federici, Rosenior, Pearce, Ingimarsson, Armstrong, Church, Tabb, Matejovsky, Henry, Doyle, N.Hunt.

    Finally....Steve Coppell has been an exceptional manager for Reading and has provided us with some of the best football we have ever witnessed at Reading. However this season has not been his finest with some increasingly bizarre decisions typified by the panic treble substitution last night. When Kitson plays as the spearhead of the attack unfortunately we resort to route 1 football primarily because his movement is dreadful and he is so slow. Whilst neutrals may have seen that move as going 'all out attack' unfortunately it was nothing more than the final nail in the coffin. Also to take off our 1 player in the midfield with any sort of vision and ability to pick a pass - Matejovsky - when we are 2-0 down on aggregate and playing against a team who were extremely defensive even before the first goal last night, I find bewildering.

    Sermon over!

  • Comment number 88.

    #87 Amen.

    Brendan Rogers please, although I know this would seriously disappoint a pal of mine who supports Watford.

    Good luck to Mr Coppell whatever he decides to do in the future. We have much to thank him for - whatever team we support

  • Comment number 89.

    Steve Coppell leaves Reading as a man of principles and moral fibre.
    He doesn't stay wallowing for a pay out or milking the genuinely respected and deserved sympathy of fans and pundits. He doesn't play the media but he is a fantastic manager and man.
    There are FEW too many people throughout society that follow this model and it needs to be said.
    I support Birmingham and felt we were the team that would be in your position today and it gives me no pleasure to see you here. You pasted us at St Andrews and obviously wanted to beat you at the Madjeski to go back up. You will be back and hopefully so will SC.

  • Comment number 90.

    Steve Coppell is a "Gentleman" who always gave the most honest assessment of his team and the oppositions. I hope he decides to manage another team somewhere down the line he is too good to let go of with ing the football league

  • Comment number 91.

    For starters i think Steve Coppell is amazing, he has worked to a budget, never complained about it and he's pulled together a team that has punched above their expected weight. As a Reading fan i will sorely miss him and who ever comes in will have big boots to fill, not just because of his record but because of the man he is.

    Football needs teams that seem to punch above their weight because they work within a budget. I hate hearing things like, "Reading aren't a premiership club" or "the Chairman didn't spend lots of cash" etc...what you're trying to say is you need money to be a premiership team, thats rubbish. People like Leeds and other "big clubs" aren't in the premiership because they don't have stable budgets, long term managers or teams that work.

    I hope Reading get stay high in the championship and get back into the premiership simply because they show to others how a club should be run instead of living in fantasy land so much.

  • Comment number 92.

    Hi, interesting times for Reading. I have a suggestion for the end of season play offs. The teams incentive is to get promoted, so points = promotion. So why dont the teams who enter the playoffs but remain in the same league (ie dont quite make it over 3 games, which is a bit harsh)get points for these games which they can carry over to the next season? This gives them a head start they have earned, it also makes the Premiership droppers have to fight harder to get back up, which means more entertaining soccer both to avoid relegation from premiership and to try and finish higher in Championship. If red cards and points docked from clubs can be carried over why not bonus points to reward those who finish in positions 4,5 and 6??
    Good luck Allan Norcutt form Exeter, feel for you buddy. M.

  • Comment number 93.

    Why are there people here making terrible comments such as 78 "HOW do you think Reading reached the PL by the way? It might have something to do with Mr Madejski's cheque book. You should pipe down pal."

    What's this really got to do with Steve Coppell?

    The point is that he is a man of true integrity and honour who has done for Reading what no manager has ever been able to do before. Not only that but he picks up young players from our solid youth academy and buys in players on the cheap who turn out to be brilliant (80K for Doyle and Long for example). He is what everyone associated with football should strive to be like and I hope for the good of the game that he does not retire on the back of this.

    Reading haven't spent wildly in the past and I hope that will prevent us becoming the next Leeds. Sir John, it can be argued, should of in fact spent a bit more money rather than less.

    As for you :"MourninhoforEngland" you really need to take a step back and look at your club. Why is it every week in the pub when Chelsea are on TV everyone is cheering for the other team - no matter who they are. Because very few of the people with your club have even close the amount of respect from the neutral that Steve Coppell has. To go even further, most neutrals are outraged by the way your players and staff handle themselves. Perhaps Chelsea could sign Steve Coppell to teach all of their players and staff a lesson in football professionalism...If everyone had the professionalism of Steve Coppell the footballing world would be a better place.

    Final point on this as I just cant let it go...opening up his cheque book?! Really? Your team spends more on a bottle of Champange than we spend on most of our signings. Let's just hope you have no reason to order any more bottles of that any time soon. Man Utd (where Steve is also a legend) for the league and Champions League and David Moyes (another fine man) to stuff you at Wembley in a few weeks.


    Stand up for the Steve Coppell


  • Comment number 94.

    Just to emphasise my point - look at the other odd 90 posts and see what people think of Steve Coppell and Reading Football Club. We've lost the best manager we've ever had, we have another season in the Championship and probably some of our best players (like Doyle) will leave. But today reading this blog and others on various websites I am extremely proud to call myself a Reading fan!


  • Comment number 95.

    Bangsarayspur here,

    Class act,it takes a big man to know when his time is up. Steve will be back, there's an important job waiting for him although I am sure he has not taken this step in preparation for joining another club.

    Steve, take your time, become refreshed and come back to football when the time is right. We need thinkers in football, there are too many motivators (read bullies). Can I suggest a job? I sure can - sort out the Football Association there's an institution that needs some cerebral help.

  • Comment number 96.

    It has been really refreshing to read such a well balanced article and constructive sensible comments. As a West Ham supporter, I wish Reading all the best in getting up next year and I hope Steve Coppell soon gets another job in football because the likes of him are sorely missed. As for re-jigging the play-offs, Svenksred's ideas look ok ;the only question I would have is would the teams designated to play at home be so keen on the idea if their away form was better?

  • Comment number 97.

    I will reiterate comments on this page and say Coppell is a model manager.

    The only criticism I'd have is that he's quite dull. Maybe it's the cameras that do this as I only have this viewpoint from watching MotD.

    I suppose it's not a criticism but he needs some life injected in him!

  • Comment number 98.

    Please don't leave! I think there are a lot of people who love you very much! You have been staying beside us for such a long time, it's hard to accept this. Please STAY~~~

  • Comment number 99.

    Come and join QPR Steve it will feel like home! :-)

  • Comment number 100.

    As a neutral I would just like to say that the premiership would be a better place if the managers of the 'top 4' had the honesty, integrity and dignity of Steve Coppell.

    Obviously you couldn't expect a Chelsea fan to understand such concepts, but I hope Reading get his replacement right and are soon back in the Premiership.


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