Jem Karacan's respect for 'Mr Coppell'By Jonny Fordham
January 05, 2013
Reading fans affectionately called him ‘Sir’ Steve Coppell after steering the club to the Premier League by winning the Championship with a record-breaking 106 points.
But it wasn’t just on the terraces where Coppell, now director of football at Reading’s FA Cup opponents Crawley Town, was revered.
Royals midfielder Jem Karacan, who was handed his club debut by Coppell, holds the former Manchester United winger in the highest regard, always referring to him as ‘Mr Coppell’.
“It’s a respect thing and one of those things I always did growing up,” said Karacan.
“As a young lad being around the first team and having the likes of Wally Downes and Kevin Dillon it was some experience coming through. They were all brilliant to us and I have a lot of thanks to them all.
“Mr Coppell has been down a few times in the last few months, either watching under-21 games or just to say hello.
“He gave me my chance and I will always be in debt to him for that. He gave me the shirt and let me go out there and show what I can do.
“Sometimes managers don’t give young lads a chance – but he did for the likes of myself, Churchy and Pearcey.
“He will always be a Reading legend after getting us to the promised land of the Premier League and keeping us up in that first season.
“To get relegated on goal difference was heart-breaking for everyone, but he put Reading on the map and everyone knew what we were about.
“But if we can still go there and hopefully give Mr Coppell a beating, that will be nice.
“Mr Coppell was always about the next game and putting everything into getting three points – similar to the gaffer. But (Brian McDermott) has his own way of doing things too.”
Karacan has played three games in a row since returning to the Reading starting line-up after damaging medial knee ligaments in October.
But the 23-year-old, who scored his FA Cup debut goal when on loan at Bournemouth away to Barrow in 2007, is determined to make an appearance at Broadfield Stadium (3pm kick-off).
“Hopefully I’ll be playing,” added the tenacious midfielder.
“It’s been tough and the games take their toll. But to play over the Christmas period has been great. It’s what it’s all about.
“I’m delighted to be back playing. It’s great to be back involved and we’ve had a couple of positive results recently. I want to play every game and be involved in as many as I can.
“I will always put myself on the line and try and get Reading out of this situation we are in.”