Former Everton manager Joe Royle rejoined the Club as part of Roberto Martinez's backroom staff in July 2014.
Royle – a member of the LMA 1000 club – began his professional career as a player with Everton (making his debut aged 16). Following a successful playing career he also enjoyed a good career managing - having particularly enjoyed success in the North West of England with Oldham, Everton and Manchester City. He is best known for his FA Cup achievements with Oldham and Everton, but it is perhaps the promotions he secured with the 'Latics and City that highlight Joe's qualities as a manager.
The amiable Merseysider began his playing career at Everton where he made over 270 appearances and scored 119 goals, including 23 in the 1970 Championship winning side. By the time he has finished at Goodison Park, he held the record of being the youngest player to play for Everton (James Vaughan beat the record on 10 April 2005 by 11 days) and for five seasons was Everton's top scorer (a period that included the title). Six England caps followed and Tony Book signed him for Manchester City in 1974 at a cost of £170,000. He added a League Cup winner's medal to his Championship gong in 1976 when Dennis Tueart scored a memorable overhead winner at Wembley against Newcastle. He left City to join Bristol City, where he played over 100 games, before a final move to Norwich City. Although he only played 42 times for the East Anglian club – he won their Player of the Year (1981) and was voted into their Hall of Fame. However, at the age of 33 in 1982, he was forced to retire following a serious knee injury.
It took him 3 months to get back into the game, when he was appointed as manager of Oldham - a job he stayed in for 12 years turning them from an average 2nd Division club into a solid Division 1 (now the Premier League) outfit. Their cavalier style won Joe and his side many friends and he took the team to Wembley in 1990, where they were unfortunate to lose by a single goal to Nottingham Forest in the League Cup final. Oldham were also beaten in the FA Cup semi-final that year, in a replay, by eventual winners Manchester United, a situation that repeated itself in 1994, at Wembley, when it took a typically spectacular volley from Mark Hughes in the last minute of the game to prevent Joe and his team from returning for the final. They lost the replay 4-1. However all things must come to an end eventually and, after relegation to the Endsleigh First Division in 1994, Royle resigned from Oldham.
By this time Joe was winning many admirers, and though Manchester City had already invited him to become their manager (he turned them down as the timing wasn't right for Joe), he did take the vacant managers job (replacing Mike Walker) at former club Everton. His impact was immediate, as he turned round a struggling side and, remarkably led the Toffees to the FA Cup final in 1995. Paul Rideout's header won the game bringing Everton their first, and only, major trophy since 1987. The league was a little harder to get right as they finished in sixth place in the League in 1996 before really struggling in 1997. Things really came to a head when, on transfer deadline day 1997, he was not permitted to sign the Norwegians (Tore André Flo and Claus Eftevaag) by chairman Peter Johnson – it led to his resignation.
After nearly a year out of management, having assisted Glenn Hoddle in the England set-up, Dennis Tueart helped convince Joe that his future lay at Maine Road. City were in a desperate state having seen a succession of managers spend money the club could barely afford on an inflated squad of mediocre players. Joe arrived too late to save the club from relegation to the Second Division for the first time in their history, but he started pruning the squad and bringing in cut-price professionals with the required strength of character to turn things round. It proved a season of two halves in the Second Division. A relatively poor start before Christmas gave way to an impressive run thereafter. After just missing out on second place, City reached the play-off final and eventually secured their return to the First Division an incredible late comeback forced extra-time and penalties against Gillingham. With a team moulded in his own style, Joe typically formed a healthy relationship with Chairman David Bernstein and a superb season followed. Joe became the first City manager in modern times to actually surpass the supporters' expectations as he achieved a second successive promotion and took Manchester City back to the top flight. Manchester City only spent one season back in the top division, leading to Royle being dismissed after relegation in May 2001.
At the age of 53, Joe was appointed to succeed George Burley at Portman Road, 17 months after being dismissed from Maine Road – the club were looking for an instant return to the top flight – but a mere 3 months later, the club entered administration, which lead to the exit of several leading players and a restriction of transfer and wage funds. Despite this Royle twice led Ipswich to the play-offs, in 2004 and 2005, but lost on both occasions to West Ham United. Following the sale of several key players Ipswich finished 15th in the 2005–06 season, their lowest finish since 1966. In a results business this meant only one thing and Royle left the club by 'mutual consent' in the close season.
Tactically Joe belongs to the old school of English managers, often employing wingers, target men up front, tigerish midfielders and commanding centre halves. His ability to build a successful team with limited resources has made him quite a rare and valuable commodity in the English game.