Reading Football Club News: December 2018

Marshall Takes Team To Rotherham

14 December 2018
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Scott Marshall will remain in temporary charge of the first team as they travel to Rotherham United this Saturday, in what is a relegation six pointer. The Royals, currently in the bottom three, would jump out of the relegation positions and above Rotherham if they can take all three points from the game.

Despite sacking Paul Clement almost out of the blue, the club management have been unable to find a replacement since last weekend's disappointing home defeat at the hands of Sheffield United. Plenty of names have been linked with the Royals but there has been no definite news as to who will be brave enough to take on the challenge of preventing Reading dropping into League One. Former Reading favourite Phil Parkinson, currently at Bolton and a place behind Reading, remains the favourite but there is nothing to suggest he will leave his current club for what would be a sidewise move to a club in trouble.

Luis Castro, the early favourite for the job, publicly stated he was not interested, but remains in the top three at most bookmakers. Gareth Ainsworth, who is currently enjoying some success with League One side Wycombe Wanderers has moved up to second favourite. However, Ainsworth is saying all the right things to keep Wycombe fans happy and it's difficult to see why you wouldn't be able to take his comments as face value: "I am flattered to be linked with a Championship club like Reading and, like any manager from the lower leagues, of course I want to manage at a higher level. However, I am very happy to continue to be Wycombe manager and whether the links are hearsay or not, I am very happy to be here. I love being manager of this football club and I am hoping to continue here for as long as possible."

Slavisa Jokanovic, Steve Bruce, and Graeme Murty remain contenders, but the reality appears to be that Reading are no closer to securing their next manager.

Meanwhile, Marshall will be focused on the trip to Rotherham and the need to avoid defeat at the very least. There has been some rare good news for Reading fans with both Jon Dadi Bodvarsson and Yakou Meite expected to be close to making a return to action. With Reading struggling for goals, both are key players who have already found the net in decent proportions for their time on pitch this season. Reading failed to register an attempt on goal last Saturday and will be hoping for better things. Danny Loader continues to look likely up front and a real prospect but will hopefully be joined up front by Meite who can supply the strength to compliment his play.

Rotherham also have players returning from injury and will be hoping to go one better than their last two home games that both finished as 2-2 draws.

Parkinson New Favourite For Manager Job

11 December 2018
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Former Reading midfielder Phil Parkinson is emerging as the favourite to become the next Reading FC manager after the sacking of Paul Clement last week. Parky, a firm fans favourite from his playing days, is currently manager of Championship strugglers Bolton Wanderers - one of only two sides below Reading in the Championship table. Parkinson is now evens with the bookmakers after the previous favourite, Portuguese manager of Vitoria de Guimaraes, Luis Castro distanced himself from the vacant position at Reading.

Those who put their money on Castro when it seemed a done deal will obviously be regretting that after he said he planned to stay at his current club to continue his progress there - and perhaps wait until a better offer comes along. With Nigel Howe back in charge at the club, he could well now turn to managers known from their time at Reading, such as Parkinson. Former Rangers boss Graeme Murty is also still high up on the list of possibilities at 22/1 - you can also try an online betting code. Steve Bruce was the early favourite before Castro and remains towards the top at 9/1.

Parkinson has had a mixed managerial career. Starting at Colchester United he earned them an unexpected promotion to the Championship. He then opted to move to Hull City on the back of his repuation and a promising young manager. That turned into a mistake as he lasted just 24 games and only managed to pick up 5 wins during his time at the club. He picked up his career as number two to former Reading manager Alan Pardew at Charlton. After Pardew left the club Parkinson become number one but oversaw a relegation to League One. After failing to earn promotion the next season Parkinson was sacked the following January.

His next job at Bradford City was where Parkinson hit the headlines for guiding Bradford, a League Two club into the League Cup final. His team beat Arsenal on penalties before a victory over two legs against Premier League Aston Villa took them to Wembley for the final. He went on to enjoy more cup success including a run to the FA Cup quarter-finals that was only ended by Reading at the Madejski Stadium. Parkinson's 274 games in charge at Bradford City saw him pick up 101 wins, 86 draws and 87 defeats.

Bolton have struggled with life in the Championship under Parkinson, and narrowly avoided the drop last season. However Parkinson has retained his job due to his past success with the club. After arriving at Bolton in the summer of 2016 he went on to have an impressive first season when he took them out of League One as runners up. During that season he was awarded manager of the month three times. Reading fans have already commented that Parkinson could be the right man to get us promoted out of League One should we be relegated, but question if he is the best choice for a relegation right - although he successfully avoided the drop last season. Should Parkinson be named manager he would certainly be given the full support of Reading fans due to his status at the club from his playing days.

The sacking of Clement, just two days before our league match against Sheffield United, now seems even stranger with no new manager lined up to replace him. It already felt the club was in turmoil but with Clement just 9 months into his role, and things starting to gradually improve on the pitch, the timing of his removal just feels wrong. Reading went on to fade badly in their game against the Blades and the 0-2 defeat was a fair score in a match played in front of just 12,000 spectators. That the club sent Clement marching with no immediate plans to replace him is incredibly frustrating. Reading are deep in relegation trouble and every point counts, and it feels like we threw away the chance of getting any last Saturday by unnecessarily rocking the boat.

Light At The End Of The Tunnel Extinguished

08 December 2018
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Just when there were encouraging signs of progress on the pitch, with some improved performances in recent weeks, the owners of Reading Football Club stepped in re-appointing former CEO Nigel Howe and presumably approved his decision to sack manager Paul Clement in his first twenty four hours in post. The consequences of such a pre-meditated ill-advised and decision was plain to see in the disastrous outcome on the pitch today. After a run of five tough matches had produced six points, some excellent goals and only one narrow away defeat to high flying Leeds United, caretaker manager Scott Marshall was thrust into his new role with insufficient time to prepare his team for yet another tough game against a team chasing promotion. Following a bright first half, Reading faded badly after the interval and were completely outplayed by United before conceding two late goals.

All Change As Reading Face Sheffield United

07 December 2018
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Caretaker managers Scott Marshall and Nigel Gibbs face a tough challenge this Saturday evening as the Royals face sixth placed Sheffield United at the Madejski Stadium for a 5:30pm kick-off. Reading go into the game without a permanent manager and without a "Sporting Director" director after Gianluca Nani followed Paul Clement out of the door. With Nigel Howe returning as Chief Executive of the club it's been big changes in all areas of the management team as the owners look to shake up a club in decline and facing a relegation battle. Clement lasted nine months at the club while Nani lasted just three as the revolving door keeps on spinning at the Madejski Stadium.

Once again our next manager will know they will have very limited time to work miracles before they will find themselves looking for a new position. Rumours continue to fly around on who will be brave enough to take on the role. The early favourites are Steve Bruce, Luis Castro and Slavisa Jokanovic.

Steve Bruce has had a long management career with spells at Sheffield United, Huddersfield, Wigan, Crystal Palace, Birmingham, Sunderland, Hull and Aston Villa. In 2012 his Hull City team were promoted to the Premier League in his first season in charge. With Villa struggling in the Championship Bruce came in with some success in his second season - taking them to the play off final but losing out on promotion to Fulham. Bruce was sacked in October 2018 after a bad run saw his home supporters turn on him during a 3-3 draw against bottom side Preston.

Like everyone else we knew nothing about Luis Castro, who is current manager of Vitoria de Guimaraes in Portugal after having spells at Porto. He is a current favourite after reports his agent has already had conversations with the club about the vacant manager's role.

Slavisa Jokanovic was on the winning side of that 2018 play-off final. Bruce lost his opportunity to manager Aston Villa in the Premier League and instead Jokanovic took his Fulham side up during his third season at the club. As expected Fulham struggled in the top tier and as a result Jokanovic was dismissed.

Former Reading players Graeme Murty and Phil Parkinson are also considered possible contenders. Murty had a mixed spell as Rangers manager last season and Phil Parkinson's stay at Bolton continues despite pressues over finance and league position at the club. The return of either of those former players would receive mixed feelings from the fans. They would obviously be welcomed back, but it would be a shame to harm their reputations in what would be a brutal job as team manager.

With Sheffield United the visitors Scott Marshall might feel he has little to lose on Saturday as the visitors will be favourites for the win. However, their position in the table hides a run of eight games with just two wins. United have 5 points from their last 5 games. Meanwhile the Royals have 6 points from their last 5 fixtures. Yet, talk is still of promotion for the Blades, while the Royals dump their manager amid relegation fears. It's a funny old game.

Recent Meetings With Sheffield United

27 February 2018 Championship Sheff Utd (HOME) L: 1-3 Read report...
21 October 2017 Championship Sheff Utd (Away) L: 1-2 Read report...
26 January 2013 FA Cup Sheff Utd (HOME) W: 4-0 Read report...
25 April 2011 Championship Sheff Utd (HOME) L: 2-3 Read report...
15 February 2011 Championship Sheff Utd (Away) D: 1-1 Read report...
26 January 2010 Championship Sheff Utd (Away) L: 0-3 Read report...
22 August 2009 Championship Sheff Utd (HOME) L: 1-3 Read report...
10 April 2009 Championship Sheff Utd (HOME) L: 0-1 Read report...
15 November 2008 Championship Sheff Utd (Away) W: 2-0 Read report...
20 January 2007 Premiership Sheff Utd (HOME) W: 3-1 Read report...
16 September 2006 Premiership Sheff Utd (Away) W: 2-1 Read report...
14 February 2006 Championship Sheff Utd (Away) D: 1-1 Read report...

Under 23 Manager Marshall Gets Caretaker Role

06 December 2018
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Reading Under 23 manager Scott Marshall will take temporary charge of the first team, working alongside Nigel Gibbs, following the departure of Paul Clement who was sacked this morning. Marshall and Gibbs lead training this morning as the team prepare for Saturday's visit of Sheffield United to the Madejski Stadium. The success of Reading's U23 side is well known, with his team going on a 14 match unbeaten run. Marshall will know plenty of the first team squad well with some of his players starting to get regular first team action under Paul Clement before he was shown the door.

Marshall arrived at Reading in September 2017 after spending nine years at Arsenal as a player. After moving to Wycombe, he then took a coaching role at the club before coaching at Brentford and then overseas in Oman. After taking charge of the U21 development squad at Norwich City he became assistant at Aston Villa in 2013. It was while at Aston Villa he managed a single match as caretaker boss - a 2-1 FA Cup victory over Leicester City in February 2015. If he can replicate his previous single game success as caretaker manager on Saturday and get a win it would only be Reading's fifth league win of the season so far.

Marshall is unlikely to be inline for the permanent job at this stage. The timing of Clement's sacking, with things starting to pick up at the club, suggests that someone must already be on their radar as a replacement.

Paul Clement Gets The Sack

06 December 2018
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Paul Clement has been sacked as Reading manager in what comes as a shock announcement from the club this morning. Clement's dismissal comes just a day after former Vice Chairman Nigel Howe was appointed as Chief Executive on a permanent basis.

Reading fans were starting to think a corner had been turned with a reasonable set of recent results after a poor start to the season. It was widely expected that Clement would be given more time to turn things around. His sacking follows a run of just a single defeat in the last five game. That defeat was a narrow 0-1 reverse at Leeds United, where we missed a late penalty which would have shared the points. It is obviously a very fine line between success and failure as a football league manager.

Clement arrived at Reading in March this year with the club already in steady decline following a disappointing follow up to an appearance at Wembley in the play-off final the season before. Under the charge of Jaap Stam the football had become stale, crowds, like our league position were starting to drop, and a change was clearly needed. Clement was unable to stop that decline in his limited time at the club.

Unfortunately for Clement his time in charge at Reading will go down as one of the worst records of any Reading manager. His thirty games in charge returned 7 wins, 8 draws and 15 defeats. Despite that poor record, Clement was turning into a popular character with his honest assessments of both his and the teams performance.

Some will be pleased the club have acted quickly in making a change - the Championship table does not lie. However, many will believe chopping and changing the manager so frequently does nothing for the stability of the club, and it is disappointing he wasn't given more time in charge. We can only assume the management of the club already have strong plans in place for Clement's successor.

Club Statement:

Reading Football Club can announce that Paul Clement has left his position as manager of the club with immediate effect.

Clement was appointed towards the end of March and earned two victories and a final day draw in Cardiff which proved enough to secure the club its Championship status at the end of a challenging 2017-18 campaign.

However, following five wins in the first 22 league and cup matches of 2018-19, owners Mr Yongge Dai and Ms Xiu Li Dai have made the difficult decision that the time is now right to make a change.

We would like to thank Paul for his hard work during his time as manager of Reading Football Club and we wish him the very best of luck in his future endeavours.

CEO Nigel Howe will now seek to swiftly identify and appoint a new manager who will fit the Reading mould, build a team which can deliver performances and results that will help us climb the Championship table and lead the club towards promotion in the future.

The club will make no additional comment at this time but will provide further updates as soon as possible.

Clement's Departure: Table as it stood on 06 December 2018
19Hull202357113251217-9 20
20Rotherham204511411037519-11 20
21READING2032516151451017-6 18
22Millwall204331614037819-9 18
23Bolton20226614244712-13 18
24Ipswich20064915127820-18 11

Light At The End Of The Tunnel

04 December 2018
By Adam Jones

There has not been much to shout about over the past eighteen months for the Royals after their play-off Final defeat against Huddersfield Town. Near relegation and turmoil in the boardroom has left the club in a mess. After Chief Executive Ron Gourlay's departure, could there be light at the end of this dark tunnel at Reading Football Club?

Andy Rinomhota and Danny Loader have both been given chances recently. This might be the start of forming a club identity that is known for putting faith in academy players. There are few things that are more satisfying in football than seeing 'one of your own' going on to make first team appearances for the club.

I have been incredibly impressed with Rinomhota, being signed from non-league side AFC Portchester. His energy and forward runs have been incredibly encouraging for the fans. His superb televised performance at Elland Road against Leeds United emphasised this. This signing is proving to be a real coup by Reading, a 2005-06-eque signing. We had several cheap gems that we unearthed in that season, including Kevin Doyle, Shane Long and Stephen Hunt. Danny Loader is another youngster who has recently been included in the first team. Featuring regularly for England at youth level, he has the potential to go on and make himself a big name in the footballing world if he carries on his rapid development.

Both Rinomhota and Loader did not look out of their depth at Championship level, and this is something that could encourage Paul Clement to put even more faith in youth. We are clearly proud of our academy system, having a category one status and seeing a number of former graduates go on to play in the Premier League. This pride was emphasised on Saturday with the unveiling of an academy board, displaying all the academy graduates that have gone on to make a senior appearance for the first team.

One of the most exciting things about this academy board is the fact that there is more room on the display for more players to go on and make it to the first team, providing an inspiration to the younger players who have not yet had the honour to play a senior game. Scottish youth international Tom McIntyre was on the bench for the Royals after injuries to Paul McShane, Liam Moore and John O'Shea. He will be hoping to be the next player that makes it on that board.

With the departure of Ron Gourlay, Nigel Howe has been re-appointed as the CEO on a temporary basis. Whilst I think we need to move forward, it is reassuring that we have Howe back in charge for the short term, to provide some stability after a rocky eighteen months. He was there on Saturday for the academy display unveiling. Co-majority shareholder Dai Xiu Li was also present at the unveiling. This is very encouraging considering that the owners have been rarely seen since they bought the club back in May 2017. In a club statement from Ms Dai, she stated that herself and Howe will run the club on a day-to-day basis temporarily. It is so reliving to hear that Dai Xi Li has a more hands-on role at the club, at this moment in time. Whether this will continue after the appointment of a new CEO remains to be seen.

The release of this club statement was such a small thing, but it makes a huge difference. The fact that the owners are aware that Reading fans need a club statement from them shows that they are interested in taking this club forward now, if they were not already before.

Now to on the pitch matters, the fact that Reading now have the fighting spirit to come back from a losing position in the dying seconds shows that we have a bit of fight. No matter how poor our squad is at this moment in time, we have the ability to come back to claim crucial points. If we can somehow turn some of these draws in to wins, we could be on course for a more encouraging second half to the season.

Are we starting to get our club back? Perhaps this is the start of it.

Royals Get Manchester United In FA Cup - Again

03 December 2018
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Reading have been drawn away at Premier League side Manchester United in the third round of the FA Cup. It will be the second time in three seasons that the two sides have met at Old Trafford at this stage of the competition. Our last meeting was very one sided as United cruised to a straight forward 4-0 home victory over Reading. Rooney started the scoring after just seven minutes and from that point there was only going to be one result. Martial added the second and two second half goals from Marcus Rashford ended a disappointing day for the Royals. We will be hoping for better things this time round, but our league form suggests we could be in for another difficult trip up North. The game will take place on the weekend of Saturday 5 January 2019.


Recent Meetings With Manchester United

07 January 2017 FA Cup Man Utd (Away) L: 0-4 Read report...
16 March 2013 Premier League Man Utd (Away) L: 0-1 Read report...
18 February 2013 FA Cup Man Utd (Away) L: 1-2 Read report...
01 December 2012 Premier League Man Utd (HOME) L: 3-4 Read report...
19 January 2008 Premiership Man Utd (HOME) L: 0-2 Read report...
12 August 2007 Premiership Man Utd (Away) D: 0-0 Read report...
27 February 2007 FA Cup Man Utd (HOME) L: 2-3 Read report...
17 February 2007 FA Cup Man Utd (Away) D: 1-1 Read report...
30 December 2006 Premiership Man Utd (Away) L: 2-3 Read report...
23 September 2006 Premiership Man Utd (HOME) D: 1-1 Read report...
27 January 1996 FA Cup Man Utd (HOME) L: 0-3 Read report...
Reading and Man Utd - Head to head record (since August 1994)
Games Between Reading and Man Utd 11
Reading Wins 0
Man Utd Wins 8
Draws 3
Reading Goals 10
Man Utd Goals 24
Average Goals Per Game 3.09

Late Barrow Goal Earns Point

01 December 2018
By Hob Nob Anyone?

A last minute equaliser from Mo Barrow gave Reading a well-deserved point against an in form and very strong City side. Having taken the lead just before half time courtesy of Mark McNulty's first goal for Reading, the Royals lost their way in a disastrous spell after the interval. Sloppy defending provided Afobe with the chance to atone for a missing a sitter early in the game by leveling the scores. A spectacular volley from Ince gave the visitors the lead and they looked likely to push on and win the game comfortably. The introduction of Meite, Baldock and Barrow revitalised a flagging Royals attack. They came close to finding the equaliser on a couple of occasions before Meite set up Barrow for fine finish with very little stoppage time remaining. I think most Reading fans would have settled for a point before what looked to be a very difficult fixture.