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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 October, 2003, 10:08 GMT 11:08 UK
Coppell seals Reading deal
Steve Coppell (left) and Reading chairman John Madejski
Coppell is introduced by chairman John Madejski
Steve Coppell has been confirmed as the new manager of Reading, ending weeks of speculation over his switch from Brighton.

Coppell succeeds Alan Pardew, who quit Reading last month in order to take over at West Ham.

But former Manchester City and Crystal Palace manager Coppell admitted he had mixed emotions after signing a deal to the end of the 2004-05 season.

"I am excited by the prospect of taking Reading forward, but anxious about the responsibility," he said after being unveiled as manager on Thursday.

"I am also sad to leave Brighton. It's such a good club, so I have mixed emotions," Coppell said.

But he added: "Once I start to work with the players I will put the blinkers on."

Coppell confirmed he will retain all of Reading's existing backroom staff, whose future had been thrown into doubt by Pardew's departure for West Ham last month.

"I have worked with 10 or 11 different sets of backroom staff during my time in football and never had a problem with any of them. I don't foresee a problem at Reading," Coppell said.

He added: "I know the staff are all very committed and I hope to ride on the back of that commitment."

Reading chairman John Madejski apologised for the delay in appointing Coppell, who finally agreed to the move three weeks after Pardew had quit the Berkshire club.

Reading is set up for the Premiership with a superb stadium and infrastructure
New Royals manager Steve Coppell
"When I first approached Brighton chairman Dick Knight they had a clutch of games coming up and he didn't want Steve distracted," said Madejski.

"Then when the time came that we could talk to Steve we had to negotiate the contract. We are delighted we have got him. We have finally got our man."

Reading are without a game on Saturday after their First Division trip to Burnley was postponed because of international call-ups.

Coppell therefore starts with three successive home games, against Gillingham, Preston and Walsall.

"That looks good," he said, "but that can bring its own pressures.

"I think the team has been a little distracted by the turmoil and we have to put them back on track. "I can't guarantee success, and the supporters will need patience. This is a tough division because of the prize at the end.

"Reading came so close to the Premiership last season - you could say they hit the post and it bounced out.

"The club is set up for the Premiership with a superb stadium and infrastructure. "

New Reading boss Steve Coppell
"My main priority is not to unsettle things"

Coppell hints at Reading move
03 Oct 03  |  Reading
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04 Oct 03  |  English Div 1

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