Coppell's return to combat

Steve Coppell, who looked and sounded a broken man when he walked out of Manchester City nearly four months ago, re-entered the fray of football management yesterday with Crystal Palace for the second time.

The pressures that Coppell had said were the reason he had left the Maine Road hot seat after just 33 days seemed to be far from his mind, judging by his relaxed countenance at Selhurst Park when he was named as Dave Bassett's successor at Palace for the second time in 13 years. He has taken the job in a caretaker capacity until the end of the season. Ray Lewington will stay as first team coach and will pick the side for today's game at Oxford United.

While expectations may be slightly lower at Palace than at Manchester City, Coppell did not give that as the reason why he was prepared to return to management. In announcing his departure from Maine Road in November "on medical grounds", Coppell had said: "I have suffered for some time from the huge pressure I have imposed on myself. Since my appointment this has completely overwhelmed me."

Yesterday Coppell said he had accepted Palace's offer because "I know the players here, the supporters and the personnel. I feel comfortable here." He refused to talk about his time at City, saying only: "It's over, done with, finished. I was in a footballing wilderness after that, but now I've got the opportunity to get my teeth into something."

The comments of Ron Noades, the Palace chairman, provided further confusion. Noades said: "The situation at Maine Road was all paper talk. Steve never got the chance to defend himself against the allegations of pressure and Manchester City massaged the situation to satisfy their supporters. I don't think his departure was down to ill-health, I think that is just something Manchester City put out."

Those comments infuriated City, who issued a statement saying: "Manchester City totally refute any suggestion that Steve Coppell resigned for any reason other than on the grounds of ill health. Manchester City require an apology from Mr Ron Noades within the next 24 hours for his statement. If this is not received, Mr Noades will have to face the legal consequences of what he has said."

Coppell had already been doing some scouting work for Palace in recent weeks and this is his third appointment by the club. Noades employed him for the first time in 1984 following Bassett's about-turn three days after leaving Wimbledon. Having resigned following Palace's relegation from the Premiership in 1993, Coppell returned as technical director two years later before leaving for Manchester City last October.

When Bassett's latest reign ended on Thursday with his decision to join Nottingham Forest as general manager, Noades decided "after a few jars with Ray Lewington" that Coppell was the man to keep them on the First Division promotion trail.

"The first six years of his previous stay was the most successful period in the club's history," Noades explained. During that time Palace won promotion in 1989, came within seven minutes of winning the FA Cup the following season and then finished third in the old First Division another year later.

"From the team's point of view it means a fresh person coming in with least disruption," Coppell said. "Dave has done a great job in setting the club up and we're in a position of great potential with 14 games to go. I'm looking forward to those remaining games and I will do my very best to get the club into the Premier League."

He has no immediate plans for delving into the transfer market before the deadline. "There are exciting players here with great potential," he explained. "It's a young squad with stability, good balance and good strengths."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk