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35 years to the day that Coppell became gaffer

4 June 2019

When George Orwell wrote 'Nineteen Eighty-Four' in 1949, we doubt that he had envisaged an Oceania where Party Members and proles enjoyed Wham's 'Wake Me Up Before You Go' as No.1 or for Crystal Palace to have appointed a manager aged just 28.

However, on Monday June 4th 1984, that is exactly what happened as the Eagles made Steve Coppell the youngest manager in the league when they appointed the recently retired midfielder on a two-year deal.

The decision by then-chairman Ron Noades - who was mightily impressed by the former Manchester United player during a six-hour interview process - would represent one of the club's greatest appointments, with Coppell going on to manage Palace in four different spells and cementing himself in Holmesdale history.

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Coppell wasn't actually the club's first choice. After all, why would a man with no managerial experience, who had just interviewed for a vacancy at Fourth Division Wigan Athletic and not been successful, get a job at a second-tier team?

Wimbledon's Dave Bassett was actually offered the Eagles job but reneged on his acceptance just four days later. However, it was that U-turn from Bassett that strengthened Coppell's case to take over at Selhurst Park with Noades determined to conduct a thorough managerial search: "I want to cross the Ts and dot the Is this time...I like what I heard from Steve Coppell."

Upon taking over in south London, Coppell said: "It's a new career for me. I am a little nervous but I am looking forward to the challenge. I want to get straight down to work with the players as soon as possible. 

"My priority is to get things right on the pitch. Although they had a difficult time this season I believe the team is as good as any in the Second Division."

Coppell's rise through the Palace history books and managerial game is a credit to not only his ability but also Palace's continual desire to give people with the core skill set a chance, irrespective of age and experience.

Coppell's first spell resulted in 442 games played over the nine-year spell, ending with 292 games unbeaten and a 40.5% win rate.

SEE ALSO: 1984-1993: The Coppell Years

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