Never one to seek out the limelight, Coppell is an unlikely hero – but a hero he is both in the north-west and in south London. A trophy winner at Old Trafford and at Selhurst Park – yes, Full Members Cup, we are looking at you – he would receive a rapturous reception at either ground to this day.
But how did the young footballer who turned down contracts at a series of top clubs to focus on a degree in economic history make it to the very top?
Creativity was clearly in the water in the area of Liverpool in which Coppell grew up – his school could boast among its alumni a young musician by the name of John Lennon, who had apparently gone on to find considerable success with a band called ‘The Beatles’. We’ll have to take their word for it.
On the books of Tranmere, he resisted the advances of clubs in higher tiers as he focused on his studies at the University of Liverpool. Then, in 1975, Manchester United came calling.