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Joe Royle

Joe Royle
Norwich Career: 1980-1982 (47 appearances, 10 goals), 2014 (Football Consultant)
Current Club: Oldham Athletic (Director)
Date of Birth: 08/04/1949 
Nationality: English


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 target.

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 of Ipswich.

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 sacking.

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 Grant

He had a brief spell as Oldham's caretaker manager at the end of the 2008/09 season.

Royle returned to Norwich on 2nd June 2014 when he was appointed as "football consultant". Royle was new Norwich manager Neil Adams’ manager at Oldham Athletic between 1989 and 1994, when Adams moved to Carrow Road. Adams said “Joe is someone who I have played for at both Championship and Premier League level, and he has amassed a vast amount of knowledge during his time in the game. He has been there, seen it and done it so to speak, and has also been very successful during his time as both a player and a manager.”

Six weeks later, on 14th July 2014, Royle left Norwich to join Everton for the third time, taking up a role as part of Roberto Martinez' backroom team to help with scouting and the transition of young players from the academy to the first team.

Following the sacking of Roberto Martniez, Royle and David Unsworth were put in charge for the final game of the 2015/16 season which saw their Everton side beat Norwich 3-0 on 15th May 2016.

Royle also helped Unswroth in the autumn of 2017 following the dismissal of Ronald Koeman. He left Everton on 5th December 2017 following the appointment of Sam Allardyce as Everton's new manager.

He was appointed as a Director of Oldham Athletic in July 2022, with his son Darren as Chief Executive.

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