Steve Coppell resigned as coach of Bristol City after three months in charge and said he’s giving up soccer management.
Coppell, 55, took over at the English second-tier club on May 11. Assistant coach Keith Millen, 43, now gets the job on a three-year contract, having been in temporary control at the end of last season after Gary Johnson left. City came 10th, four places off the playoff spots.
The team lost 3-2 at Southend in the Carling Cup two days ago, and was defeated 3-0 at home by Millwall in its opening Championship match last weekend.
Coppell quit as Manchester City manager in 1996 after 33 days in the job. Today he said he was leaving Bristol City with the “deepest regret” and after “very careful consideration”
“Unfortunately it has become clear over recent weeks, that I found I could not, for whatever reason, become passionate about the role and give the commitment the position demands,” City’s website cited him as saying. “I am retiring from football management but still feel I have a contribution to make to the game sometime in the future.”
Before taking the Bristol City post, Coppell hadn’t had a managing job for a year after leaving Reading following the Championship playoff semifinal defeat to Burnley in 2009.
“It is disappointing for any club to part company with its manager at this stage of the season,” City Chairman Steve Lansdown told the website. “However, we respect Steve’s decision, one that allows us the opportunity to appoint his successor and give that individual the full season to work with the squad.”
A former Manchester United and England player, Coppell also managed clubs including Crystal Palace, Brentford and Brighton. When he left Manchester City in 1996, he cited the “huge pressure” he’d imposed on himself at the club.
His statement today, cited by Bristol City, was released through the League Managers Association.
Coppell won the F.A. Cup as a player with Manchester United in 1977, and led Reading to the top league for the first time in 2006. He was the LMA’s Manager of the Year in 2006 and 2007, the only man to take the award in two consecutive years.
“I’m still getting over the shock really,“ Millen said of Coppell’s departure. “I knew I wanted to do the job and last season I enjoyed it, but for certain reasons I decided to step aside from it and I was looking forward to working with Steve. I did enjoy working with him and we are still friends. We met last night, when he told me the news. He apologized for leaving me in this situation.”