McAnuff: The Legend Debate

Ben Hoskins

With Jobi McAnuff released last week, @RoyalHoops and @BucksRoyal face off to determine whether McAnuff is worthy of being classed as a Reading Legend.

Disclaimer: Both Hoops and Simeon were asked the same questions at separate times. Some answers may overlap slightly.

Simeon's view: certified legend

What one moment during McAnuff's time with the club sticks in your mind?

The Jobi moment that most sticks in my mind was his goal away at Cardiff in the second leg of the 2011 Playoff semi-final. We were already 2-0 up thanks to a brace from Shane Long, but the way that McAnuff took the ball past a couple of defenders, running rings around before skipping into the box and slamming a shot low past the goalie really put the icing on top of the cake. It gave me and plenty of other Royals fans that that year was our year - unfortunately it wasn't to be (although Jobi popped up with two pretty identical assists in the final!).

What one moment during McAnuff's time with the club epitomises his time with us?

This season's performance at QPR where he showed a terrific work rate showed Jobi at his best - a rounded, experienced player that has been integral to our grinding out wins in tough away games like the trips to West Ham and Southampton during the promotion season.

On what grounds do you define a club legend?

For me, what sets aside a true club legend from other players who are very good players but not quite legends is showing dedication and commitment to the club throughout their career at the club over a number of years. Also, when a club legend is still playing for Reading, it can be hard to imagine what it's like without them in the squad. When players like Graeme Murty left the club, it felt like an end of an era because they helped epitomise what the club was like during their stay - for me, Jobi McAnuff fits into that category too.

What, if anything, was McAnuff's best trait?

His best trait was his work-rate. Many of our attacking players over the last couple of seasons, particularly Garath McCleary and Jimmy Kebe, had much better attacking qualities than McAnuff, but on their off days (which all attacking players have), they lacked another side to their play. McAnuff had that - when he wasn't impressing fans with attacking displays, he always got stuck in for the team when others probably weren't. 

What, if anything, was McAnuff's worst trait?

His lack of goals. In his 189 appearances for the club, McAnuff only managed 14 goals which, although hardly being terrible, is the scoring record you'd expect from a defensive midfielder rather than an attacking one. The fact that he only popped up with two goals this season (a brace at Birmingham City) is disappointing to say the least, and probably didn't endear him to Nigel Adkins who, having managed wingers like Adam Lallana at Southampton, must have been disappointed by the lack of end product. 

What makes him a club legend in your eyes?

As the old saying goes, form is temporary, class is permanent. During his time at the club, McAnuff became integral to the team that each manager he played under developed. Whereas other wingers would be dropped for poor form, it speaks volumes that McAnuff was kept in the side as a regular starting player by both Brian McDermott and Nigel Adkins. That's because he showed the high work-rate and desire that is arguably lacking in the modern footballer, and is integral to the success of any team. McAnuff made 189 appearances at Reading, almost 40% of his career appearances in total. For a player once written-off as a mercenary, the loyalty and dedication he's shown us in his five years of service make him, in my eyes, a club legend.  

What will the Royals miss most about his departure?

His experience. Especially at a time when the academy is expected to churn out several new players over the next couple ofseasons, McAnuff's vast experience at this level would have been invaluable in their development. I'm sure that McAnuff had a part to play in the development of Jordan Obita this season - both being wingers who have had to improve other aspects of their play - becoming more defensive, rounded players in the process.

Hoops' view: not worth the accolade

What one moment during McAnuff's time with the club sticks in your mind?

It's difficult for me to do this, as my one single moment is also the moment that epitomises his time with us, but I will give him credit for the 2011/12 season, where he and Jimmy Kebe were superb down the wings. They were tearing full backs apart under McDermott and the key threats; unfortunately, McAnuff never quite lived up to that level again.

What one moment during McAnuff's time with the club epitomises his time with us?

Whenever I think of Jobi McAnuff, I think of that run against Liverpool, way back in 2010. It summed up his career with Reading superbly: decent technique, effort, passion, pace... and a lack of end product. OK, that may be harsh considering his 16 goals and 44 assists in 206 games for us (as per Transfermarkt), but he had so many opportunities to truly shine and step up-yet in my eyes, he never quite made it. Work rate is well and good, but I personally expect more from an attacking player.

On what grounds do you define a club legend?

A club legend is someone who sticks around, serves well, has a certain aura about them—and the type of quality that means that when they leave they'll be missed. Alas, this is where I'll probably differ from the majority but I'm not convinced he'll be missed all that much; though this does depend on the transfer dealings this summer. If Adkins wanted to keep him desperately, he'd still be here, despite the financial circumstances...

What, if anything, was McAnuff's best trait?

You can't deny he had a fantastic work-rate, which is unusual considering when he arrived from Watford they had dubbed him ‘McHadEnuff', implying that he wasn't giving his all and wasn't trying any more. As it turned out, the one thing McAnuff undeniably had was a sublime engine.

What, if anything, was McAnuff's worst trait?

Consistency. On his best days, he was very good, but those days rarely arrived and when they did they were as rare as a blood moon.

He was infuriatingly predictable, to top it all off. If he had an off game, he may as well have played as a full back, with his threat going forward almost impossible to see. Skip past a man, run down the line, cut back onto favoured right foot, get tackled/get a dodgy ball in/miss a shot...

Maybe I'm being too harsh, but whilst his work-rate endeared him to a majority of the fans, his end product just never quite got there and he failed to convince me that he's indispensable.

What makes him a club legend in your eyes?

He's not.

The likes of Parkinson and Murty are undeniably legends. They played for a decade in the hoops, captained the side for much of that time and were a key cog in the team machine, a consistent whirr in the engine room.

McAnuff, for all the work rate, effort, passion and whatnot that fans laud him with, was simply not a club legend.  He'll be remembered fondly and will go down in history as the captain of the side that won promotion two years ago, but that doesn't automatically grant him legendary status, I'm afraid.

His departure doesn't feel like a defining moment in the club's history, and—to borrow a Dragon's Den phrase—for that reason, I'm out.

What will the Royals miss most about his departure?

Depth.

I don't think he'd have played a big part next season, considering he was out of the team for extended periods this season; but with McAnuff gone, Adkins has only McCleary, Obita, Robson-Kanu, Blackman and Drenthe as options on the wing—and one or two of those could have departed come the time the 2014/15 season kicks off.

His leadership and presence in the dressing room will undeniably be missed, but I'm sure with the likes of Morrison, Karacan, and Pearcey in there there's still more than enough leadership and passion to paper over the McAnuff cracks that some will be desperate to uncover in the months to come.

Get involved

It's obvious these two will never be able to resolve their issue, and the item of Reading Legends is entirely subjective—but what do you think? Is McAnuff worthy of being dubbed a Reading Legend?

In This Article

Teams
Players
X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join The Tilehurst End

You must be a member of The Tilehurst End to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at The Tilehurst End. You should read them.

Join The Tilehurst End

You must be a member of The Tilehurst End to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at The Tilehurst End. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9353_tracker