Goodbye, Brian. - Ben Hoskins
With a few days to let the news sink in, Brian McDermott's departure has been greeted with very little jubilation and a fair bit of humiliation. This small club from Berkshire has sacked one of its best ever managers, the manager that got us to the Premier League for the second ever time in history. Hoops takes a look at McDermott's abilities as manager.
There are 5 criteria that McDermott will be rated on. For each criteria, we'll have a look at the good and the bad and give a rating out of 10.
Tactics - 5/10
McDermott was a fairly bog-standard tactician, in all honesty. From the moment he stepped foot in the dressing room the players knew it would be a 4-4-2 formation and very little else.
Goalkeeper, two reserved full backs, two solid centre backs, a couple of defensive midfielders, rampaging wingers and a bit of mix and match up front. Simple, but effective... until the 2012/13 season.
There were no questions about tactics whilst McDermott was succeeding and the fans were enjoying themselves, but once the going got tough questions were raised. Reading were being ripped to shreds over and over again in the beginning, yet still the team were set out with a 4-4-2 and a gung-ho attitude. It failed. Time and again.
The good performance at Chelsea in a 4-5-1 didn't change much, until the turn of the year when the team set out slightly more defensive, hoping to kill teams off with a counter attack, set piece or last minute goal.
Pogrebnyak's suspension meant McDermott felt he had to go back to a 4-4-2, with little success again.
They say insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results...
McDermott knew what he wanted from his team, but when that didn't work there was very little that changed.
Man management: 7/10
Without doubt one of McDermott's strongest points was his man management. With Brian at the helm Reading fans saw the best of Matt Mills, Gylfi Sigurðsson, Shane Long and Jimmy Kebe. There were no rumours of discontent, no public outcrys and no ripples in the ocean. Brian got on well with his players.
Well, he did. Then we were promoted to the Premier League and Danny Guthrie fell out with the gaffer, Pogrebnyak was rumoured to disapprove of his time spent on the bench and Jimmy Kebe had a pop at the owner for not spending more money. Let's not forget the Alex Pearce situation.
With the team struggling for any solidarity at the back and a lack of control in midfield, fans were screaming out for Pearce and Guthrie yet neither featured much in the first half of the season. Pearce was being kept out by the inexperienced Morrison and Guthrie was being kept out for his attitude. Of course both exclusions were put down to "gut feeling" etc.
Even with all this going on, there was still harmony. Every player interview given backed McDermott and backed the team.
McDermott man managed admirably, even though there were a few rough patches.
Every manager has a few hits and a few misses in the transfer market. Even the legendary Steve Coppell signed Emersae Fae.
For every hit that McDermott had (Griffin) there seems to have been a miss (Gunter). For every success story (Ian Harte) there's been a horror story (Marcus Williams). For every diamond (Le Fondre) there's been a plain old rock not far behind (Karl Sheppherd).
It's fair to say that not all signings have been purely down to McDermott but it is fair to say that he certainly had an input into them, and some of them have been wonderful. Others not so.
This season in particular he seems to have missed more than he has hit.
The lack of consistent successful signings might be the reason his battleship has sunk.
Brian McDermott never once messed up in his press conferences.
Controlled, honest and frank, McDermott didn't get flustered and didn't let the media glare shine too brightly on his players. They needed their feet on their ground, and on the ground they were kept.
He might not have been the most open with the press, but he never wound them up, snapped at them or attacked his players. Couldn't ask for much more.
Represented the club brilliantly.
Attitude to fans: 10/10
The number one thing to Brian McDermott was the fans. Football is all about the fans for him. They pay to come and watch the game, they should be entertained, they are the twelfth man.
McDermott did his best to please the fans and keep them on board, and it wasn't until this season that a select few turned on him for his tactical hesitancy.
Right until the very end, the fans came first for Brian, who always made the effort to applaud the fans.
I thought the fans were fantastic at the start of the game. The fans want to see their team win. We've had a lot of good days in the past three years. The past three weeks have been difficult. The fans just want to see the team win.
It was all about the fans for Brian.
Overall rating: 38/50
A great manager, a wonderful human and a outstanding role model. Royals fans could be left wondering what could have been for years to come if his successor fails to live up to expectation.
Disagree with any of the ratings, or have anything to add? Leave a comment below.