What was the real reason behind Steve Clarke's sacking?

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Even by the standards of the Championship where the average tenure of a manager is a paltry and pitiful eight months, the sacking of Steve Clarke by the Reading board over the weekend outdid most of the dismissals in the 'why-why-why?' stakes.

Clarke could have been questioned about his loyalty to the Royals having flirted with the managerial vacancy at Fulham, but is it any wonder why his and other manager's heads are turned by other clubs?

If one feels there is more potential for success at another, thus less chance of being given the elbow at the current one, then of course they are going to go for it, let alone stay at a club that's going to fire them for the slightest indiscretion in form despite the fact they have bettered their prospects in the time they have been there.


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Reading have a very good chance of promotion this season - they are currently only two points behind the play-off positions - and the Scotsman appeared to be a major reason for that considering they were 16th when he joined just under a year ago.

A Reading statement said the reason was because of a ''poor run of form which has seen the team pick up just one win from eight games.'' With three draws taking the tally to six points from eight games, it's not promotion winning form, but it is still preposterous to kick him out for this reason.

Yes, Clarke didn't shoot down the idea of taking the Fulham job, but this is life. He was at Reading for less than a year, it's not like it's his child. It's a natural inclination for animals including humans to have their heads turned by an attractive offer; whether it was a Homo sapien 100,000 years ago being offered the chance to join another group of its kind who had more food and shelter than his own group, or a dog going over to the person with a biscuit rather than the one who has nothing.

Only two points behind sixth place and 12 adrift of the second automatic spot, the Royals under Clarke had a very good chance of getting back up to the Premier League. But it seems like the Reading board have decided to dismiss and 'get back' at the man who led the club to their first FA Cup semi-final in 88 years with the same spitefulness as someone who cheats on their lover in revenge for their spouse merely talking to a potential love rival.

Without being funny, this is not Barcelona we're talking about, so one has to expect managers to be intrigued by posts elsewhere. Most clubs are extremely disloyal to managers, so why shouldn't the shoe be put on the other foot when it comes to the person in the dug-out?

Clarke may have been concerned whether Reading would get him out after a few negative results, which was why he kept his options open when Fulham came calling. And considering their decent position in the table - which should not see anybody dismissed based on that alone - it appears Clarke would have been right to be concerned.


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