Football: Royle on right road after Rosler double
Swindon Town 1 Cowe 71 Manchester City 3 Rosler 22, 77, Bradbur y 83 Attendance: 12,280
Sunday 22 February 1998
Two goals by Uwe Rosler, the German striker Royle once tried to sign for Everton, and a third by the substitute, Lee Bradbury, underpinned a performance of renewed determination from a team who had seemed to be sinking under the deposed Frank Clark. But Royle is the first to acknowledge the enormity of the job he has taken on.
"We're not getting carried away," he said afterwards. "There have been too many false dawns at this club. But I was confident when I came that we can avoid relegation and that confidence has been swelled this afternoon.''
Royle has likened his role to that of a firefighter. With the flames of relegation already licking at City's boots it seems an apt description and while suspicion remains that he has opened the door on a conflagration that would send even Red Adair into retreat, Royle's record in saving Everton from the drop and keeping Oldham in the top flight for three years entitles him to such self-belief.
He has 14 matches in which to stop City from tumbling into the uncharted reaches of the Second Division. Even should he succeed, however, it may be too late to preserve the reputation of his chairman, Francis Lee, whose hold on power at Maine Road looks increasingly tenuous.
Lee, once revered as a City player, has seen his stock fall so low in high office that he is reviled in some quarters with the intensity of feeling once directed at his predecessor, the late Peter Swales.
"If there was a cup for cock-ups," Lee once famously remarked, "then City would have a full trophy cabinet every year." After the clumsy manner in which Clark was replaced, hearing his fate on local radio, the statement appears as true today as ever.
Royle is the club's seventh manager during Lee's time, which for a man who promised to end the revolving door policy characteristic of the previous regime is an extraordinary record. Mid-table in the Premiership when Lee took the reins, City have seen Brian Horton replaced by Alan Ball, Asa Hartford, Steve Coppell, Phil Neal, Clark and now Royle in reaching the lowest league position in their history. The list does not include Dave Bassett, who accepted the job, slept on it and then changed his mind.
Lee, who last week handed the day-to-day running of the club to Dennis Tueart and Michael Turner, the chief executive, needs Royle to succeed more than any of his predecessors. With the Cheshire businessman Stephen Boler's 24 per cent holding up for sale, Lee is facing a battle for control involving several counter-bids and attempts to rally financial support are unlikely to bear fruit if Royle fails to deliver.
At least there was an encouragement for him yesterday, when City at least displayed the commitment they will require in the weeks ahead.
Aided throughout by the uncertainty of Swindon's teenage goalkeeper Steve Mildenhall, they were rewarded in the 23rd minute when Rosler forced the ball home from close range. Steve Cowe headed a deserved equaliser for Swindon with 20 minutes left but then Rosler pounced for his second after a neat move involving Bradbury and Jim Whitley before a looping header by Bradbury made sure it would be Royle's day.
filmFilm producers sue Warner Bros for $75m over Hobbit films
voicesJust when you thought you could find a man, get married, and have a baby by the age of 35... it turns out you’re too late, says Grace Dent
Swedish stars ask fans for £195 pledges on crowd-funding website
musicAs Mariah Carey and Noddy Holder rake in the royalties from their classics, why there hasn't been a decent festive hit for 20 years?
theatreAuthor Daniel Rosenthal recalls the mishaps that almost brought the curtain down on the likes of John Gielgud and Diana Rigg
lifeAs the Royal Mail plans to phase out deliveries on two wheels, it's no wonder posties are in a spin
musicThe 21-year-old beat Ella Eyre and Chlöe Howl to win the honour
lifeFull of the joys and want to help your fellow man? December isn't the time to do it
Latest in Sport
Tottenham to use controversial blood-spinning technique to speed Jan Vertonghen return
World Cup 2014: Football Manager developers predict the team of the tournament - but which England player makes it into the XI?
Roy Keane omits Paul Scholes, Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs from 'greatest' Manchester United team
Napoli 2 Arsenal 0 match report: Nightmare in Naples leaves Arsenal to battle giants
Transfer news: Wayne Rooney sparks Manchester United exit rumours after rejecting new contract talks - reports
- 1 Nelson Mandela memorial: ‘Bogus’ interpreter made mockery of Barack Obama’s tribute in Soweto
- 2 French café starts charging extra to rude customers
- 3 Australia: Gay marriage law reversed by high court less than a week after first weddings
- 4 Exeter to Edinburgh and back in a day: How one fresher's lost bet left him facing a 900-mile round trip
- 5 Australia incest case: Severely deformed children found in remote farming community after generations of inbreeding
£30000 - £40000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Biomass I...
£45000 - £55000 Per Annum Extensive Benefits Package: Clearwater People Soluti...
£30000 - £42500 per annum: Pro-Recruitment Group: Working in conjunction with ...
£44999 - £60001 per annum + Benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: A Top Tier firm i...