john davies
notes from a small curate

updated regularly
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Stars of Norris Green 4:
    Steve Coppell

    BBC Radio Merseyside Thought for the Day 26/1/2006

    All this week I have been talking about the gifted children of Norris Green. Another who has gone on to great things is the footballer Steve Coppell, ex-pupil of Ranworth Square School.

    As a youngster at Tranmere Coppell also studied Economics at Liverpool University and by exercising his mind and his soccer skills he began to build a reputation as one of the best right-midfielders of his era. He won 42 full international caps for England, scoring 7 goals.

    Then tragedy struck in a vital World Cup qualifier against Hungary in 1982. A vicious challenge shattered Coppell's knee - he said it felt "like someone had put a firework in my knee and it had gone off" - and that was the beginning of the end of his playing career cut short by persistent injuries.

    It might have been the end of his days in football. But Coppell didn't give in to that possibility. A combination of hard work, study, and quiet determination have helped him to build a successful career in management. Steve took his first club Crystal Palace to their highest league position and their first FA Cup final; his current club Reading are riding high and likely to be playing Liverpool and Everton in the Premiership next season.

    When people or circumstances are against you, you have to dig deep to keep your head and your self -respect. Steve Coppell's story shows us that it can be done. We might spare a thought today for those facing life-changing decisions, that, with faith in themselves and others, they wilt discover a way to move forwards into even better things.