Coppell stuns Bristol City by quitting after two games and admits he 'lacks passion'

"I won't be rushed into anything," said Steve Coppell back in June. Yesterday he walked out of his job at Bristol City after a tenure that lasted two games and 112 days – or rather six days of the season. It was nearly four times as long as he had remained in situ at Manchester City, but still represents a remarkably abrupt end to a management career that began 26 years ago.

Coppell was appointed on a one-year rolling contract at the end of last season and recruited David James in one of the most surprising transfer deals of the summer. But a 3-0 home defeat to Millwall in the season's opening Championship game on Saturday was followed three days later by another embarrassing loss at Southend in the Carling Cup and that was enough for Coppell.

When he became the youngest manager in the Football League in 1984 after being appointed at Crystal Palace, Alex Ferguson was still at Aberdeen and Liverpool had just won the championship. It began a career that spanned the top and bottom divisions of English football, including that ill-fated spell at Maine Road, where he remained for six games and 33 days.

Coppell, 55, has never explained his reasons for leaving Manchester so swiftly in 1996 and there was nothing to shed light on yesterday's equally unexpected action, apart from a statement issued via the League Managers' Association, a body whose chief executive he once was. Stress was widely suggested as his reason for quitting City, while he has also acquired a reputation for acting swiftly as soon as he becomes unhappy with a situation.

His statement read: "It is with the deepest regret that I confirm my departure from Bristol City. I have made my decision after very careful consideration and I believe that it is in the best interests of both the club and me personally that we go our separate ways.

"Whilst I was looking forward to the challenge of leading the players in this season's campaign, unfortunately, it has become clear over recent weeks, that I found I could not, for whatever reason, become passionate about the role and give the commitment the position demands. I appreciate that the timing of my departure is not ideal, but I believe it is best for the club to appoint a new manager. I am retiring from football management but still feel I have a contribution to make to the game some time in the future."

Coppell had been signed up to deliver the dream of chairman Steve Lansdown and secure a return to the top flight for the first time in 30 years. "His footballing pedigree made him our prime target to manage the club," said Lansdown yesterday. "It is disappointing for any club to part company with its manager at this stage of the season. However, we respect Steve's decision."

Keith Millen, No 2 at Ashton Gate for the last six years, has been named to replace him. City play at Doncaster tomorrow. "I'm concentrating on doing my best for City. That's a little difficult at the moment as I'm still getting over the shock," said Millen.

Coppell's many moves

June 1984-May 1993: Crystal Palace

Appointed at age of 28. Led Eagles to FA Cup final and promotion to First Division.

Oct-Nov 1996: Manchester City

Lasted just 33 days before walking out.

Feb 1997-Mar 1998: Crystal Palace

Took Eagles up again in second spell.

Jan 1999-Aug 2000: Crystal Palace

Returned for final period in charge.

May 2001-Jun 2002: Brentford

Lost in Second Division play-off final.

Oct 2002-Oct 2003: Brighton

Unable to avoid relegation.

Oct 2003-May 2009: Reading

Led Royals to Premier League.

May-Aug 2010: Bristol City

In charge for just four matches.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific