Coppell was so close to leaving clubBy Nick Ive
May 21, 2008
Steve Coppell's agent Athole Still admitted that the manager had initially decided to walk away from Reading following their relegation.
Coppell looked certain to quit after failing to keep the club in the top-flight, but, as the Post exclusively revealed last Wednesday, he was over-whelmed by the support he was shown and decided to try and lead Reading back into the Premier League.
His playing staff gave him their backing, as did the fans.
Still, who also represents former England boss and Manchester City chief Sven Goran Eriksson, said: “He (Coppell) did intend to walk away, but then various people had chats with him.
“Compensation did not enter into it, it was simply because he felt that he had let down the club, the chairman and the fans – that was the reason he would have walked away.
“But after talking to several people he realised there was a great swell of support for him from everyone at the club without exception and that is unique for a coach when the team has been relegated.
“You think of the difference between Reading and Birmingham where the joint chairmen were spat upon. Everyone wanted him to stay and that had a huge effect on him.”
Coppell, who joined the club in October 2003, received so much backing, though, from people inside and outside of the club.
Still added: “I’m not sure if soul-searching is the right expression, but there was a lot of cerebral thought and looking at what it meant to so many people and not just looking at your own pride.
“He had to consider other people and they would have all been gutted had he gone.”
Coppell, who has one year left on his contract, will now try and lead the club back into Premier League at the first time of asking.
Still added: “He is very relieved and he’s up for the challenge of coming back next season.
“You would be hard-pushed to find a manager who has his mixture of real integrity and experience and I include all the managers in that.”
Coppell is currently on holiday in Thailand, so was not present at yesterday’s press conference at Madejski Stadium.
But Still insisted: “His holiday was booked a long time ago, it was as simple as that.”