However, unconvinced that what was around that corner were actually more wins, the chairman acted. On December 16th Rodgers was sacked and Brian McDermott was appointed caretaker manager.
Whilst it may have taken a few weeks for the wins to come, we finished the season winning 12 of the 24 remaining games just missing out on the play-offs. McDermott finally signed the defenders we had been crying out for since relegation from the Premiership, and a squad that a month before had seemed weak appeared capable of beating anyone.
We also no longer had a manager that wanted us to play as Chelsea, instead we were playing as Reading; quick counter-attacking football, plenty of width, strong midfield and pacy wingers. Gone were games were we spent 90 minutes passing the ball with no real end product.
He has us really playing to our strengths. Over the past ten seasons we have not been a side relying on 60 per cent or more possession, instead when we worked hard making our little possession count. Players like Kebe, have been transformed from boo-boy targets into crowd favorites. There have been plenty of mistakes, but McDermott seems to learn from them quicker than his predecessor.
In Rodgers’ defence, he was almost doomed to fail. Stepping into Coppell’s shoes was never going to be easy. But Rodgers’ perceived arrogance and over-confidence had been hard for some fans to accept after Coppell’s understated style and results didn’t seem to match his attitude.
This was highlighted with his poor handling of the Tommy Smith saga, something I can’t see happening with McDerrmott at the helm. Whilst he may have the unassuming nature associated with Coppell, McDermott also has the enthusiasm and passion of Pardew, making it much easier for him to win over fans.
Recent results may not have been going our way, but the squad is very much a work in progress. Despite being manager for a year, it still isn’t really McDermott's side. Both Coppell and Pardew have shown that it takes around two seasons to really make a side your own, but now we seem to be heading in the right direction.
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.
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