Football: Royle appointment could be right one this time
Swindon Town 1 Manchester City 3
Monday 23 February 1998
There is one question you are dying to ask. Why? Why would he possibly want to take a job which every recent precedent says will inevitably end in disaster? Did he lose touch with his sanity during those 11 months out of work? Of course, no one does. Instead, we ask if he thinks City will avoid the drop. The response is predictable.
There is, however, something about the way Royle answers that makes you think that this time, perhaps, City might just have chosen the right man.
Goodness knows, they have had enough tries. To rub in the statistic City fans least like to hear, in the 12 years since Manchester United appointed Alex Ferguson, the Maine Road manager's office has had no fewer than 11 occupants, caretakers included. Seven of those, moreover, have been during Francis Lee's tenure as chairman, a period that was meant to bring stability.
But while Lee's previous appointments never quite seemed sure they could deliver what they promised, Royle exudes unqualified self-belief.
"I was confident when I took charge and this performance swells that confidence," he said. "There was not a weakness in the team. Peter Beardsley brought some touches of class and Kit Symons and Uwe Rosler were excellent. There is a good balance in the side and I've no doubt we will be all right.
"It all depends on confidence and concentration but Willie [Donachie] and I have a method. We know what we want to do and the players know what we expect."
Which may be bad news for some, the enigmatic Georgi Kinkladze prominent among them, but rather better for others, not least Rosler, who seemed never to be quite Frank Clark's frothing pot of Lowenbrau but now has a manager who is fully behind him.
Rosler repaid the faith with two goals, boosting his total for the season by 50 per cent. Lee Bradbury, with only his third goal since Clark paid Portsmouth pounds 3m for him last summer, made the result safe after Steve Cowe had pulled one back for the home side.
Steve McMahon, the former City player who is Swindon's manager, saw his rookie goalkeeper, Steve Mildenhall, suffer a nightmare afternoon, dampening his own hopes of a play-off spot, but graciously wished his old club well.
Goals: Rosler (22) 0-1; Cowe (71) 1-1; Rosler (77) 1-2; Bradbury (83) 1-3.
Swindon Town (3-5-2): Mildenhall; Bullock, Borrows, Taylor; Robinson, Howe, Collins, Elliott (Walters, 50), Leitch; Finney (Cowe, 50), Hay (McDonald, 85).
Manchester City (3-4-1-2): Wright; Symons, Tskhadadze, Shelia (Wiekens, 44); Jeff Whitley, Brown, Jim Whitley, Briscoe; Kinkladze (Beardsley, 45); Russell (Bradbury, 62), Rosler.
Referee: B Coddington (Sheffield).
Booking: Swindon: Bullock.
Man of the match: Symons.
Latest in Sport
Raheem Sterling to Manchester City: Winger to report for Liverpool training on Monday but Reds braced for third City bid this week
Women's World Cup 2015: England secure third place as they beat Germany in extra time with penalty by Fara Williams
Angel Di Maria and Marcos Rojo could miss Manchester United's crucial Champions League play-off due to Copa America run
PornHub begs users to stop uploading video clips of Brazil getting beaten 7-1
Nick Kyrgios fans show their support by smearing Vegemite and Nutella on their faces amid Wimbledon run
- 1 BBC told new political editor must be 'impartial' with Nick Robinson reportedly stepping down
- 2 Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
- 3 Humans of New York image of crying gay teen receives best response yet from Ellen DeGeneres
- 4 The map showing the most dangerous tourist destinations in Europe, according to the Foreign Office
- 5 Swedish minister gives strongest case yet on why EU should stop turning away asylum seekers
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
£7 - £10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This care provider is looking for Home ...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...
£27000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A growing, successful, friendly...
£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family owned, independent ...