Coppell to stay with relegated Reading

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The Independent Football

The dénouement feared by Reading fans following relegation to the Championship has not come to pass: Steve Coppell will still be manager when the club attempt to bounce back into the Premier League at their first attempt.

The former England international confirmed yesterday he is to remain at the club, saying: "I'm very pleased to be staying. After the end of the season I needed some time to reflect and think about what was the best course of action.

"The reaction of the supporters had a bearing on my decision, as did my relationship with the chairman and everyone at the club. I'm now looking forward to the new season and the significant challenge of trying to regain our place in the Premier League."

Reading's chairman, John Madejski, said: "I firmly believe that Steve is the best person to take us back into the Premier League and I have maintained all along that I want to keep him. Steve and I enjoy an extremely good relationship and I am pleased that we have the chance to continue it.

"The vast majority of people thought he would have gone if we went down but he hasn't and he wants to see the job through. He now has a job to get us back into the Premier League again.

"Despite relegation, the club is built on very solid foundations and with Steve at the helm, we believe that we have the potential to continue the rapid growth and success that we have enjoyed in the last few years."

Despite beating Derby 4-0 on the final day of the season, Reading finished 18th and went down on goal difference while Fulham stayed up. Coppell led Reading to eighth the previous season in their first-ever season in the top division, a year after winning the Championship in 2006 with a record 106 points.

The former Crystal Palace, Manchester City, Brentford and Brighton manager has been at Reading since October 2003. Coppell played with Manchester United from 1975 until 1983 when injuries forced him to retire at the age of 28. He played 42 times for England, including at the 1980 European Championship and the 1982 World Cup.

He began his coaching career at Crystal Palace, which he managed in four separate stints between 1984 and 2000. At Palace, he lost an FA Cup final to Manchester United in 1990 and guided the club into the Premier League in 1997.

He left to join Brentford for a season from 2001, and spent the following year with Brighton before he was appointed Reading manager in 2003.

At Reading, he twice missed the Championship play-offs on the final day of the season before guiding the Royals to the division title by a new record of 106 points for a 46-game season and scoring 99 goals.

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