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Man City's Spencer Prior
"I'm sure he was planning to be around next season"
 real 14k

BBC Sport's Philip Studd
"In three years, Royle guided City to successive promotions"
 real 14k

League Managers' Association chairman John Barnwell
"Clubs have always expected too much"
 real 56k

Man City chairman David Bernstein
"We felt we needed a fresh approach"
 real 56k

Man City's fanzine editor Dave Wallace
"I would hope that the board have got a successor lined up"
 real 56k

Monday, 21 May, 2001, 09:54 GMT 10:54 UK
Man City sack Royle
Joe Royle
Royle: Told his job was safe two weeks ago
Manchester City have sacked manager Joe Royle because of "fundamental differences" about the club's future direction.

Royle joined City in 1998 and guided them to two successive promotions - from Division Two to the Premier League.

But they had a disappointing season in the Premiership and were relegated after losing 2-1 to Ipswich on 7 May.

City chairman David Bernstein said: "Our review of last year and recent discussions with Joe have revealed fundamental differences of views regarding future direction.

  Royle factfile
1982: Takes over as manager of Second Division Oldham.
1991: Latics promoted to Premiership.
1994: Succeeds Mike Walker as manager of Everton.
1997: Leaves the Toffees by mutual consent.
1998: Becomes manager of Manchester City, who are relegated to Division Two in his first season.
1999: City win play-off final against Gillingham to earn promotion to First Division.
2000: City finish runners-up in Division One and are promoted to Premiership.
2001: Blues relegated back to Division One after finishing 18th in Premier League.
"I believe to move forward successfully, we need a progressive strategy both to regain our Premier League status and then to compete more successfully than during the season just ended.

"This has been a very difficult decision for the club and for me personally, but we fell short of what was expected last season and we need a fresh approach."

Bernstein added: "Joe did very well in getting the club from the Second Division to the Premiership and we will never forget that.

"I have had a tremendous relationship with Joe over the years. We have got very close."

Bernstein had said that Royle's position was not in question after the defeat at Ipswich that condemned City to the First Division.

Three members of City's backroom staff, including goalkeeping coach Alex Stepney, have also been sacked.

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