Reading's recent decision to sack Brian McDermott stank of desperation and panic at the time.
There was public outcry for a man so well spoken and genuine to be treated in such a manner. Unfortunately his kindness is what, in the long run, cost him his job. During the summer he spoke of giving the team that got them to the Premier League the chance to keep them in the Premier League; in reality his team never had a chance as soon as he decided that.
Reading lack quality players, the ones who can unlock a defence or make something out of nothing, to be able to stay up. Danny Guthrie is perhaps the only player who could stake a claim at being able to do that but his falling out with the manager led to little game time for him to show such ability.
In an interview published in The Mirror, Guthrie recently spoke of McDermott having favourites who would always get to play, and if true it speaks of a manager who is perhaps too soft for the big time.
Had Reading gone down with McDermott at the helm you could be sure that he would be able to get them back up, his track record in that league is impressive for his relative lack of managerial experience. His unwillingness to spend and be ruthless has led to his sacking.
Nigel Adkins is his replacement and his appointment spoke of an acceptance of relegation; the club won’t say it, of course, but you can be sure he has been brought in with that in mind.
Their position was not one that could be saved - they will fight, but they are unlikely to win. With Adkins in place they have a good chance of coming back up: his record is impressive at both Scunthorpe and Southampton where he achieved two promotions with each.
Money will be spent with Adkins in charge of the club. He certainly spent enough with Southampton, and the new owner will want to see a commitment to a prosperous future. Of course, Adkins has time to work a miracle and he will keep going at it until it is mathematically impossible; always positive, his style of football reflects that with free-flowing football, something that hasn't been seen at Reading before (well, Brendan Rodgers tried it with a very similar squad, but let’s hope Adkins is more fortunate).
Mikele Leigertwood’s display at Arsenal showed that his style will take time to get through to the players, and one can foresee some signings being needed in the summer to turn the squad into one which will suit a style that contrasts so much with the hoofed long balls that have been a staple when watching Reading in recent years.
The foundations are there but there was never anything built on top, certainly nothing of Premier League quality and this is why McDermott was let go.
Adkins now has a task to steer them back up next season. Let’s hope he doesn't repeat past mistakes.
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