The Joe Royle Column

IF Peter Reid is confirmed as the new Coventry manager today then I will be delighted for him. Reidy is a great friend of mine. But equally I feel sorry for Eric Black, whose team have picked up and shown play-off form since he took over in January, and who has not had the luxury of being able to deal for players.

IF Peter Reid is confirmed as the new Coventry manager today then I will be delighted for him. Reidy is a great friend of mine. But equally I feel sorry for Eric Black, whose team have picked up and shown play-off form since he took over in January, and who has not had the luxury of being able to deal for players.

It is a big decision by chairman Mike McGinnity and he will be vindicated, or not, this time next season.

I'm told Reidy will face a little bit of resistance from the fans and I sympathise and empathise with him for that as it is a similar situation to what I faced when I first got here.

I hope the reason the Coventry fans have only got it in for Reidy is down to loyalty to Eric Black because he is good man.


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But I hope they give Reidy a chance, even though he is my mate, it does look a little puzzling at the moment.

THEN there is Stan Ternent. Well at least Stan had a good run at the Burnley job. The Clarets had a real go at it a couple of years ago, paying out for Robbie Blake and Steve Davis to go for promotion.

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In a way they are a smaller version of Leeds, where they have gone for it and the fall out has been hard to take.

They will remember the good times. They went for the play-offs and I was at the game where they missed out by a goal.

They had Paul Gascoigne playing for them and they were heady times at Turf Moor. So they should give Stan, who has always done a good job there, a smile.

It will be another chapter for his book, which is quite unique in football tomes. It was so raw and honest which is very much like the man.

Still, I feel for Stan and I will be ringing him because he doesn't deserve what has happened to him after the job he did on a diminishing budget.

Again the people in charge at Burnley will be vindicated, or not, this time next season.

If Manchester United want to carry on paying Rio Ferdinand then that is up to them. I'm sure if they did not want to pay him then they would be within their rights not to.

Not only have they chosen to pay him but, if what we read is right, then they are negotiating a new contract with him.

Some would say that it is folly to pay someone who can't play for them through his own stupidity, but that is up to them.

No one is accusing Rio of talking drugs, but it was a lack of attention to detail which his profession demands that means he can't play for Manchester United, and who knows what that has cost them because before his ban they were certainly in touch and had a chance of the Premiership.

GOOD luck to Newcastle United tonight, let us hope they can do enough to reach the UEFA Cup final. My worry though is they are looking tired and weak. I spoke with Sir Bobby Robson at the hotel in Sheffield before our game and he was concerned at the amount of injuries they had to key players.

And love him or hate him, he is a pain in the backside, he argues with referees, opponents, his own team-mates – but they don't look the same side when Craig Bellamy is not playing.

Their championship challenge faded when he got injured last season and they have struggled without him this year when he has not played.

I really hope they do it for Sir Bobby and a fantastic set of fans, but I think they have it all to do.

FOR me Thierry Henry is easily our player of the year and arguably the number one in the world, but I did notice at Portsmouth the other night his body language was not all it could be a couple of times.

His reaction when his team-mates did not give him the pass he wanted was just a little disappointing.

Great idols, the likes of Bobby Charlton and Stanley Matthews, would never show that to their team-mates

Perhaps it shows how he still wanted to win and arguably he goes into that magic circle of the world's greatest.

POMPEY got a well deserved draw and well done Harry Redknapp, not just for that but for the season. Everyone tipped the three promoted sides to come down and they were two-thirds correct.

But Harry has done his usual trick of getting players in by swapping some for a second-hand car, two bags of potatoes and a packet of crisps. He is a trader and dealer and gets players playing for him. Well done mate – it is a great achievement.

I'm amazed that a man with so little experience was given the job of refereeing our match at Sheffield United last week when so many Premier League referees were available.

I would love to know the selection process that gives us a referee in just his second season, and the guy who was given our game at the New Den – surely people know where there is likely to be drama?

I hope Eddie Ilderton goes on to be a top referee but last Friday he could not handle what was going on.

Quite often I'm told my reports on referees compare with what the assessor has written and I do try to be fair, but I have to say I was disappointed with Mr Ilderton.

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