Football: Royle begins overhaul at Maine Road

JOE ROYLE and Willie Donachie have committed themselves as Manchester City's managerial team into the next century.

Royle, meanwhile, has already begun making ruthless cuts in the City playing staff - starting with the veteran midfielder Ian Brightwell. The City manager has signed a new three-year deal, adding another 12 months to his existing contract, while his assistant Willie Donachie has agreed a two-year extension to the one-year agreement he already had.

However, while Royle and his No 2 were putting pen to paper, the axe was falling on the players, the biggest shock being the decision not to offer the long-serving Brightwell a new deal.

The goalkeeper Martyn Margetson has also been released, while Craig Russell and Ged Brannan have been put on a transfer list which is set to include players who have cost the club more than pounds 4m in the past three seasons.

Uwe Rosler has already left Maine Road for Kaiserslautern, and the pounds 5m- rated Georgi Kinkladze is on his way to Ajax.

Richard Edghill, another who is out of contract, has signed a new four- year deal, while the teenage striker Leon Mike has also accepted a four- year offer.

Kit Symons' future, though, is in doubt. The defender opened talks with Royle yesterday and will have further discussions later this week. It is believed the new offer to Symons is a massive cut in his current wages. He said: "I have had a chat with the boss, and there has been an offer made - but there is still a lot of talking to do."

For Brightwell, though, it is a sad end to an 18-year association with the club he joined as a 12-year-old. Half-way through his testimonial season, he said: "Joe has told me he can't offer me a new contract because of the financial situation the club is in. I felt sick walking out of his office. I have been at City all those years and never wanted to leave. I was a supporter of the team before I joined as a player, so it is doubly sad.

"I have been told I can still have my testimonial match, hopefully pre- season, but it has knocked me sideways, really. I still believe I can do a good job for a First Division club and could still even play in the Premiership. I will keep all my options open and hope something comes up, but leaving City will take a lot of getting over."

Russell, who joined City in November as part of the pounds 1m swap that took Nicky Summerbee to Sunderland, and Brannan will go on a transfer list that includes many of the dozen players who have been out on loan in recent months, including Martin Phillips, Paul Beesley, Neil Heaney, Rae Ingram, Barry Conlon and Eddie McGoldrick. City also want to sell the likes of Nigel Clough, Scott Hiley, Khakaber Tskhadadze and Murtaz Shelia - when the latter has recovered from a serious knee injury.

Royle is looking to reduce the 50-plus playing staff by more than 20 to cut the current pounds 7m wage bill by half before City embark on their first season of third-grade football. He is determined to drag City back into the big time, and said: "It took Willie and me about two minutes to agree to the extensions. I am very impressed with the club's ambitions and I honestly think we have the basis of a decent side here.

"Our immediate aim is to get back into the First Division, but the long- term plan is to battle back to the Premiership," Royle added. "To be honest, despite relegation, there is a great spirit about the club and a belief in what we are doing."

City's chairman, David Bernstein, said: "We are delighted that Joe and Willie have decided to further commit themselves to the club. They have, as the board do, great confidence in the club. It will take hard work and commitment, but we are united as a team in the quest to deliver the aspirations our fans so richly deserve."

Seven Chelsea first-team players were yesterday still receiving treatment on injuries that are threatening their involvement in Sunday's relegation decider against Bolton at Stamford Bridge.

Just a week before the European Cup-Winners' Cup final against VfB Stuttgart, Franck Leboeuf, Gianfranco Zola, Frank Sinclair, Michael Duberry, Dennis Wise, Graeme Le Saux and Andy Myers are all on the treatment table.

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

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Ashdown Group: Part-time Payroll Officer - Yorkshire - Professional Services

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful professional services firm is lo...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'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
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