Fan power could keep Steve Coppell at relegated Reading after he dropped the strongest hint yet he will stay on as manager and try to lead the club back into the Premier League next season.
Coppell, whose team’s demotion after just two seasons at the top was confirmed on Sunday despite a 4-0 win at Derby, will announce his decision at the end of the week.
The former Manchester United and England winger was touched by the tremendous reception he was given from the 3,000-plus travelling fans at Pride Park, while local radio stations have been bombarded with supportive texts, begging him not to quit and fulfil his contract which has a year to run.
There has even been a ’Save Steve Coppell’ group set up on popular social networking site Facebook and Coppell told the Reading Evening Post: “The fans’ support does come into my thinking and I was delighted with the reception they gave me personally.
“From that point of view, I feel blessed to be working for a club where I am appreciated. It’s nice to work for a chairman (John Madejski) who wants me.
“I have to say I am delighted with the reaction. That support from the fans wouldn’t have been there at any other club.
“They are unique and their response does have a bearing on my future. If the fans were all saying ’he’s had his time’, I wouldn’t be able to stay on.”
Coppell, who took over as Reading boss from Alan Pardew in October 2003, has been the club’s most successful manager.
He led them into the top flight for the first time in their 135-year history, finishing eighth in the Premier League last season.
But they were relegated on goal difference at the weekend after winning just four games in 20 since Christmas.