Steve Clarke has been officially confirmed as Reading's new manager at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon. He signs a two-and-a-half year deal at the Madejski Stadium.
The 51-year-old, replaces Nigel Adkins, who was sacked yesterday evening, two days after the Royals suffered an embarrassing 6-1 defeat away to Birmingham City.
On his arrival, he said:
"I am absolutely delighted to be joining Reading Football Club and I look forward to helping the club move in the right direction. A big part of the work ahead is on the training ground and I look forward to meeting the players and getting onto the grass with them. There is real potential here and hopefully exciting times ahead for the supporters."
Clarke was a respected coach at Chelsea, Liverpool, Newcastle United and West Ham United, before becoming manager of West Bromwich Albion in June 2012.
Albion began the Clarke era with a 3–0 home win against Liverpool on the opening day of the Premier League season. In November that year, the Baggies won four consecutive top level matches in a row for the first time in the Premier League, which saw Clarke win the Manager of the Month award.
On Boxing Day 2012, West Brom were fifth in the table, behind Arsenal, Everton and Spurs only on goal difference. Albion ended Clarke's first season in charge in 8th place on 49 points - their best finish since 1981.
Despite the high finish, the second half of the season was a difficult one for Albion and Clarke. The 2013/2014 season saw little improvement, and in December he was placed on gardening leave, along with his assistant, Kevin Keen.
BBC Radio 5 Live's Pat Murphy had this to say at the time of Clarke's sacking:
You have got to look at this in the context of this calendar year. They have played 34 Premier League games and scored 31 points. Since they were third in the heady days of 2012, they have played 41 Premier League games and they have only won nine of them. Their chairman Jeremy Peace is ruthless. He is unsentimental.
The 20% win percentage in 2013 is a major blow to the club's prospects. They put a lot of money into the first-team squad. They smashed West Brom's transfer record twice in the space of a couple of hours before the window shut.
Having followed West Brom for over 40 years, I believe this is the best squad since 1981-82 and I think they are underachieving.
Roy Hodgson left behind a professional outfit. Under Steve Clarke, when West Brom were at their best, they were more attractive than when they played under Hodgson, but they were less difficult to beat.
Early reaction from Reading fans to the appointment has been positive.
@TheTilehurstEnd Good they have moved quickly. Decent candidate, positive expectations. Lets hope he can get the defense working & build.— Steve Benton (@footysteve) December 16, 2014
@TheTilehurstEnd Steve Clarke did well at west brom unfortunate to get the sack!— Daniel Roy Mackay (@DanielRoyMackay) December 16, 2014
@TheTilehurstEnd Seems a sensible decision - a calm, understated manager always seems to do well with RFC— Jeff Hallett (@jeffhallett) December 16, 2014
It has certainly been an interesting couple of days at the Madejski Stadium. We'll have plenty more reaction and analysis as it breaks here on The Tilehurst End - and vote in our poll below to let us know whether you approve of the decision to appoint Clarke.