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McDermott latest victim of the manager merry-go-round

Brian Mcdermott

Brian Mcdermott

It is fair to say that the news of Brian McDermott’s dismissal from Reading today came as a surprise to many. The surprise comes more at the timing of the decision than anything else.

With just ten games to go this season, the new manager will have little time to exert his influence on the side, and one cannot help but wonder whether keeping McDermott might have been the better option.

Reading’s Russian owner, Anton Zingarevich, who took over the club last May, will be desperate to benefit from the new TV rights deal which comes into effect next season. The deal will be worth about £30m a season to each Premier League club, a sum which will bring water to the eye of many an owner.

McDermott has impressed many observers since taking over at Reading in 2009. Whilst he narrowly missed out on promotion to the Premier League in his opening campaign, the Royals won the Championship at a canter the following year. Although Reading and McDermott initially struggled this year, winning just two games in the first half of the campaign, they burst to life in 2013.

A succession of last gasp comebacks, owing predominantly to the goals of Adam Le Fondre, secured McDermott the Manager of the Month award. However, it would not last. Defeats to Stoke, Wigan and Everton followed, before the loss to fellow relegation strugglers Aston Villa put the final nail in McDermott’s coffin.

With Reading now lying 19th, level on points with QPR, and with with away games to Manchester United and Arsenal as their next two fixtures, it is crunch time for Reading. They must get this managerial appointment right.

Paolo Di Canio is the odds on favourite to get the job after he was seen in the stands during the defeat to Aston Villa. Whilst he might be a popular choice among Premier League fans, keen to witness the Italian’s antics every week, Reading fans might be more anxious. For one, Di Canio is still very inexperienced and certainly hasn’t experienced a relegation dogfight before.

It would certainly be a risky move; however, the other candidates, including Roberto Di Matteo, Nigel Adkins and Steve McLaren would be similar. Perhaps the enigmatic Italian would provide a different energy at the Majedski stadium.

Di Canio impressed at Swindon, and his appointment might turn out to be a masterstroke. He would certainly look to adopt a more entertaining style of play to the more direct one used by McDermott, something that might take the players some getting used to.

Whoever Reading appoint, and they must do so quickly, has a mammoth task on their hands.

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