Joe Royle was manager of Everton from November 1994, when he
replaced Mike Walker, until 27th March
1997 when his replacement, albeit as caretaker manager, was Dave
Watson. In his time at Goodison Park, Everton lacked consistency.
They struggled to avoid relegation from the Premiership, finishing
15th in 1996/97 but finished 6th the previous year and won the
FA Cup in 1995 defeating Manchester United 1-0.
Joe was appointed to this position based on his success at Oldham
Athletic where he had become manager in July 1982 after leaving
Norwich City. Under Joe's regime, Oldham won promotion to the
old Division One in 1991 and remained in the top flight (now the
Premiership) until 1994. They have since slipped to Division Two.
Joe's Oldham reached the Littlewoods Cup Final in 1989/90 and
the FA Cup semi-finals in 1990 and 1994.
Joe's managerial spell at Goodison Park completed a circle begun
in 1964 when Everton took him on as an apprentice. Turning professional
in August 1966, Joe made 232 league appearances for the Toffees
scoring 102 goals. These contributed towards a League Championship,
the Charity Shield and an FA Cup runners up medal. He won international
honours, representing England at Youth, Under 23 and Full level
gaining 6 caps, scoring twice. Famed for his aerial ability, Joe
transferred to Manchester City in December 1974 and made almost
a century of league appearances for the Maine Road side. With
them, he scored 23 goals and won the League Cup. Joining Bristol
City originally on loan in November 1977, his move to Ashton Gate
became permanent the following month.
He made 101 league appearances (19 goals) for the Robins before
he changed his avian allegiance and became a Canary in August
1980 for £60,000. Despite relegation in his inaugural season,
he won the Player of the Year award. However a knee injury forced
his early retirement in April 1982 and he moved into management
with Oldham the following July 1982. In his two years with Norwich,
Joe made 47 appearances, three as substitute, scoring 10 goals.
Joe seemed very much in demand as 1997 gave way to 1998. In addition
to his work as a TV commentator, he was linked with the Northern
Ireland manager's post, that at Bradford City and as a replacement
for Frank Clark at struggling Manchester City. The latter piece
of speculation finally became fact on 18th February 1998 when
he was appointed the new manager at Maine Road. Despite a 5-2
victory at Stoke on the last day of the season, Joe was unable
to prevent Man City slipping into Division Two. Manchester City
have had a mixed start to their season in Division Two and their
plight was not helped with Joe needing to have a hip replacement
operation in October 1998. However their season improved and Royle
led the Blues back to Division One with a Second Division Play
off final victory at Wembley where they beat Gillingham on penalties
despite being two goals down at the 89th minute stage of the match.
A second successive promotion occurred on May 7th 2000 when City's
4-1 victory at Blackburn gave them second place in Division One,
behind Charlton, thus condemning Ipswich to a fourth successive
play-off. According to The News of the World on 14 May
2000, Joe was to be rewarded for this success by being offered
a new long term contract worth £1.2million per year. City chairman
David Bernstein said "A job for life. As far as I'm concerned
he can have whatever he wants. He has done a fantastic job in
resurrecting this club". Joe was also believed to be looking at
players to strengthen his squad for the Premiership campaign with
Liverpool's winger David Thompson a possible subject of a £4million
bid. Leyton Orient midfielder Ahmet Berkovic is allegedly another
target (Sunday Mirror 14th May 2000). On June 5th, Chelsea
striker Chris Sutton was named as a £5million
The following May saw the blue side of Manchester turn to despair
as City were relegated out of the Premiership following their
2-1 defeat by Ipswich on May 7th 2001. Although it appeared initially
that Joe would stay on to try and lead Man City back into the
Premiership, he was sacked on Monday 21st May 2001. Rumours from
Maine Road suggested that Royle's departure was due to a lack
of control over his team , described by one player as "the best
pub side I ever played in" due to the drinking culture at the
club. Other explanations was his appalling transfer record which
resulted in vast sums paid for players that did not perform the
business on the pitch (George Weah, £3.65m Paulo Wanchope, £3m
Richard Dunne, £2m Steve Howey, £3m Darren Huckerby, £2.5m Alfie
Haaland etc) . Royle's replacement was former England supremo
Kevin Keegan and it became apparent that the Manchester City board
had been contacted by Keegan's agent the day before Royle's departure.
Following Steve Bruce's departure from
Wigan, their Chairman Dave Whelan invited Joe to apply for the
position. Similarly West Ham chairman Terry Brown was said to
be impressed with Joe and to see him as a possible replacement
for Harry Redknapp. However with Paul Jewell and Glenn Roeder
succeeding in the race for these positions, Joe was looking for
work elsewhere. BBC Ceefax reported on 23 June that Joe might
take on a scouting role with Chester City of the Football Conference.
Well the name is similar !
In September 2001, Joe was linked with the vacancy at Highfield
Road following Gordon Strachan's resignation as Coventry boss.
Rumours also circulated that Royle was a "firm favourite"
for the vacancy at St Andrews following the departure of Trevor
Francis. Birmingham chairman David Sullivan was said to have already
discussed the position with Royle. Joe was later linked with a
Director of Football position at Cardiff City. In January 2002,
Joe was linked with the vacancy at Pride Park, Derby following
the sacking of Colin Todd. The next vacancy that saw the tabloids
suggest Joe's involvement was Sunderland following the sacking
of Peter Reid on October 7th 2002. However Howard Wilkinson was
the man chosen to lead the Black Cats. Joe then became the media's
favourite to replace George Burley at Ipswich in October 2002,
although facing competition from Bruce Rioch
and Bryan Hamilton. This materialised
on 28th October 2002 with Royle being appointed as the new manager
Joe's career at Portman Road started well with a win over Czech
champions Slovan Liberac in the UEFA Cup on 31st October 2002
but was followed up by a league defeat to Crystal Palace. Joe
finally took Ipswich to within one place of the play-offs
At the end of October 2003, Joe announced that his role at Portman
Road would be his last in football. On 3st October 2003, he was
awarded Division One Manager of the Month for October.
On 9th April 2006, The People reported that Royle would
be offered the manager's job at Derby County if the local consortium
led by Peter Gadsby take over the running of the club. On 10th
May 2006, after Ipswich finished in a disappointing mid-table
position, it was announced that Royle and Ipswich had parted company.
Assistant Willie Donachie expressed
interest in succeeding Royle in managing the Suffolk side.
On 26th September 2006, Royle was linked with the managerial
vacancy at League One strugglers Milwall, following Nigel Spackman's
departure. He was also linked the following month with the vacancy
at Carrow Road following Nigel Worthington's
In February 2007, Jan Molby told the
BBC that Joe Royle is the best man to succeed Kenny Jackett at
Swansea City. "Joe Royle's an experienced man, he knows
the level and I'm sure he could fulfil Swansea City's ambitions."
In October 2007, Royle was linked with the vacant Norwich City
manager's position following the departure of Peter