After writing in the last edition about the “buoyancy around the club” following a successful month, it’s been all change! After winning the Manager of the Month award, Brian McDermott paid the price for a run of defeats that have left the club at the foot of the League.
No one can doubt the determination and graft of the team under Brian’s stewardship, or the success he experienced. He showed incredible loyalty to his players – in return they gave 100%. I’d like to put on record my personal appreciation to Brian and Nigel Gibbs for the foundations they helped to establish as we move forward. I hope both find themselves back in football soon.On Tuesday, March 26, Chairman Anton Zingarevich announced Nigel Adkins as our new manager. He will be assisted by Andy Crosby, who worked with Nigel at Southampton. While feeling sad about Brian and Nigel Gibbs leaving, I think Nigel Adkins appointment is terrific for the Royals. A last comment on Brian is that it has been reported that he actually encouraged Nigel to take the job at Reading! Nigel brings lots of experience with him and whatever the immediate future holds, we welcome a man who is a great fit for Reading’s ethos.Important though he is, the success and longevity of any football club is not just about the manager. Having good quality staff supporting him is critical to good progress. Reading’s support staff are an incredible group who are dedicated to working hard together. They are very friendly and welcoming in my interactions with them. The Director of Football, Nick Hammond will have been incredibly busy in the process of appointing a new manager. It’s interesting that the most successful 10-year period of our long history has coincided with Nick working away in the background, supporting the management team and the directors of the club. It’s worth remembering and honouring those who have ‘behind-the-scenes’ roles in clubs, churches, businesses and organisations. It’s not just about those who have more obvious and visible roles.As I write, two football clubs have announced they will go into administration. Once again I reflect on the nature of success. Reading FC is a successful club whatever this season’s outcome. As the supporters get behind the team and embrace a growing passion in singing songs that encourage the players, there may be some bumps along the way but success will grow and an infrastructure will develop that can sustain achievements ahead.I welcome Nigel Adkins and Andy Crosby to RFC and wish them well, assuring them of my prayers and support. Come on URZ!!
Steve Prince is Reading FC Chaplain and the Pastor of Brookside Church