Joe Royle (born April 8, 1949 in Liverpool) is an English ex-footballer and current manager. In his club career, spanning from 1966 to 1982, he played for Everton (debuting at the age of 16), Manchester City, Bristol City, Norwich City, and the England national team. Royle has managed Oldham, Everton, Manchester City, and Ipswich Town.
In December 2006, Royle was appointed as a Patron of Trust Oldham, the official supporter's association of Oldham.
Joe Royle's footballing career began at Goodison Park where he made 270 appearances for Everton, scoring 119 times making his debut at the age of 16 and held the record of being the youngest player to play for Everton until James Vaughan beat the record on 10 April 2005 by 11 days. For five seasons he was Everton's top scorer, notably scoring 23 goals in the Championship-winning side of 1969-70 and winning the first of six England caps against Malta in 1971. He also held the record as being the youngest England player to score a goal until Michael Owen scored against Morocco in 1998. This record was again beaten by Wayne Rooney against Macedonia in 2003.
Manchester City manager Tony Book bought Royle for Ł170,000 in 1974 and he went on to claim further honours as he helped them to win the League Cup in 1976. He left Maine Road in November 1977 to join Bristol City and had a further stint with Norwich City, including winning Norwich City player of the year in 1981, before being forced to retire from the game in 1982 due to a bad knee injury.
Just three months later he took over the managerial reins at Oldham Athletic. He spent twelve years in charge at Boundary Park, turning an average Second Division club into a Premiership outfit by 1991. Royle's teams won many friends with their care-free, cavalier style. Royle as an individual also received wide acclaims from spectators for his "rave dancing" along the touchline at the end of a game at Swindon. Oldham were beaten in the 1990 League Cup final by Nottingham Forest, and reached the last four of the FA Cup twice (in 1990 and 1994), losing both times to Manchester United. After relegation to the First Division in 1994, Royle resigned from Oldham.
He soon replaced Mike Walker as manager of Everton and took them to F.A Cup glory in his first season as manager (1994-95). A year later they finished sixth in the Premiership, but their form in 1996-97 was less convincing and on transfer deadline day 1997 he was not permitted to sign the Norwegians (Tore André Flo and Claus Eftevaag) by chairman Peter Johnson, which led to his resignation. He was named the Everton Giant for 2004 for his successes as both a player and a manager for the Toffeemen.
After 11 months out of the game, he accepted the challenge to manage Manchester City in February 1998. When Joe arrived the club was deep in the relegation zone and even though he could not save the club from relegation to Division Two, the next season they were promoted through the play offs and a year later were promoted to the Premiership. It was said in his book that he was physically attacked by Paulo Wanchope, who was at Manchester City when he was manager. Manchester City only spent one season back in the top division, leading to Royle being sacked.
One year later he replaced George Burley at Ipswich Town. His first job was to hold the team together as two players left on cut-price deals due to the club being in administration. In his first season Ipswich narrowly missed out on the play offs despite the exodus and a year later lost out in the play off semi final to West Ham United.
2005-06 was a difficult season for Ipswich, who endured their lowest finish for 50 years, and after the season was over, Royle handed over the reins to Jim Magilton. Despite these troubles, Royle is still affectionately known among the Tractor Boys support as "Big Fat Joe."
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