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Coppell Receives Special Achievement Award

12 May 2016


Steve Coppell has won the special achievement award at Crystal Palace's 2016 Awards Night.

The legendary Eagles manager was handed the accolade 25 years after guiding Palace to their highest ever league position of third in the old First Division, and well as clinching the Zenith Data System Cup in the same season.

The year before he was the first Palace boss to take his team to the FA Cup final where they were eventually beaten after a replay against Manchester United, and it the two sides ready to lock horns again at Wembley next week it was fitting that Coppell was handed the prize this evening.

Flanked by some of his former players including Alan Pardew, Mark Bright, John Salako and Richard Shaw, the man who managed the club on four separate occasions comprising of 565 matches first took the reins in July 1984 as he built a side that was capable of mixing it with the country's very best. He would also have brief returns in 1995/96, 1997-1998 and 1999/00, winning promotion to the Premier League in May 1997.

On stage, he said: "I had to retire at 28 and I went to a Football Writers' Dinner and met Ron Noades who'd just appointed Dave Bassett, but he lasted only four days. I just knew Ron would phone me up and have a conversation and I was appointed manager.

"I had no coaching experience but I'd been in dressing rooms with other great managers, however the first year was horrendous - it was the blind leading the blind as no-one knew what they were doing! It was one of the best feelings of my life when we survived that year.

"We then built a team around players with something to prove, and that is the biggest ingredient in any successful team. The current team really remind me of that side.

"We invested heavily in signings and got to the 1990 final and then went on to finish third in the league, and in a short space of time we became an effective unit."

Speaking about that golden era, chairman Steve Parish said: "That team were mine and Stephen Browett's inspiration so the success we've had recently wouldn't have happened without Steve. 

"He is a legend and we have to thank him for everything he's done, and hopefully we can go one better in the cup final next week for him."

Current Eagles boss Alan Pardew also paid tribute, saying: "None of us would be here today without him, that's how important he's been to Crystal Palace."

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