Steve Coppell: I expected Reading FC to spend bigBy Jonny Fordham
January 10, 2013
Reading legend Steve Coppell thinks new owner Anton Zingarevich missed a trick by not spending in the summer.
Coppell guided Reading to the Premier League by winning the Championship with a record 106 points in the 2005/06 season.
In his first top flight campaign in charge of the club he steered Royals to an eighth place finish, before succumbing to relegation the following year due to a lack of spending.
And it seems that history is on the verge of repeating itself following Zingarevich’s lack of investment in the playing squad this summer.
Coppell, now director of football at Crawley Town and a confident of manager Brian McDermott, said: “I, like everyone else, felt that under the new ownership there would have been a significant spend last summer.
“But there wasn’t and maybe the club are suffering because of that, I haven’t seen enough games to say.
“Maybe the supporters would have expected a little bit more. And perhaps the owner himself thinks he may have missed the boat a little bit.
“There has been great effort and great commitment, but what is apparent so far is that you need a little bit more than that.”
McDermott has come under fire this season after winning just two league games.
However, Coppell is adamant that the 51-year-old is the perfect man for the job at Madejski Stadium.
“I still speak to an awful lot of people at the club,” continued the former England and Manchester United winger.
“I speak to Brian quite regularly on the phone and a lot of the time it’s general chitchat, as well as football chitchat.
“We’re friends more than football colleagues – I would like to think that. We have general conversations when we don’t speak about football.
“That’s okay with Brian, because he is under a lot of pressure in the Premier League to deliver results and if you don’t do that then you have to explain why and sometimes that’s difficult to do.
“He has his finger on the pulse, goes to many games and he is the modern, hard-working manager. You have to do more than one job these days and Brian certainly does that.”
With Royals looking to move fast in the January transfer window, Coppell has highlighted what he believes is essential to stay in the top division.
But he also warned Royals fans not to expect too much of the players that are brought to the club between now and January 31.
“Getting the right blend and the chemistry of the team is vital for the closing months of the season,” he explained.
“With the January transfer window, whether you can depend on any in-comings to make any significant impact, I’m not really sure.
“I’m sure they will be active and supplement the squad, they won’t sacrifice the future to try and stay in the Premier League – the club will make sure the foundations are secure to go forward what ever happens.
“If you make loan signings – they are inevitably going to be thinking about their host club, their own club. I was never keen on that.
“You do all your scouting work through the season and it is the summer when you want to bring them in and put them through pre-season routines so they get to know how your club plays.
“To introduce someone in January is very difficult, unless it’s a goal-scorer.
“Under these circumstances, I don’t think Reading will be too active in the market.”
Coppell has taken a backseat in the game since quitting his post at Bristol City after just two games in August 2010.
But the 57-year-old admits that he is still open to working in a more hands-on role after joking that he wasn’t even sure what director of football meant.
He added: “It’s a very peripheral role I have at Crawley. Would I like to be more active?
“Yes, I’ve had a few years off by my own making and I would like to get involved.
“Whether that would be in the thick of the action as a manager again, I really don’t know.
“Football is all about change and the new managers coming in with the drive and energy to grab hold of the job.
“I’ve had a good go and perhaps it’s time for other people, but I feel I have a lot to offer still somewhere.”