Coppell praises 'terrific' Doyle

27 April 2008
Football was put firmly in perspective on Saturday after it emerged Reading's Kevin Doyle played against Wigan Athletic just hours after being told four members of his family had been killed in a tragic blaze.Although final details are to be confirmed, Doyle's cousin, her husband and their two children were all killed in a house fire in County Wexford, Ireland.

Reading boss Steve Coppell had to break the news to the player after his family originally planned on not telling him so he could focus on the relegation clash at the JJB Stadium that ended goalless.

Coppell said: "We found out Saturday morning just as we were about to have a team meeting and I knew his family hadn't phoned him because they wanted to leave it until after the game.

"I chatted with him and he was obviously upset but in a way I think playing in the game helped take his mind of it.

"It was his decision, having spoken with his family I think he wanted to play. If he hadn't have played he would've just been sat thinking about things.

"I am not saying it was the right thing to do - there is not a right thing to do in these situations - but he felt and I think very bravely that he wanted to play.

"He can do his mourning now with the rest of his family."

An understandably sombre Coppell praised his player's bravery in deciding to play in the match and the Reading manager felt Doyle handled the situation superbly.

"He was terrific given the circumstances.

" I can only imagine what he was thinking but the focus of what we were trying to do probably took his mind of it.

"Now he can get in touch with family, find out what happened and do his mourning with his family."