Steve was our first choice candidate for the manager's role. He has a hugely impressive CV that covers all aspects of the game in a career that has taken in more than 1000 matches on and off the pitch: he managed West Bromwich Albion to their highest-ever Premier League points total, he was assistant manager to Jose Mourinho at Chelsea, helping win two Premier Leagues, both domestic cups and reaching the final of the Champions League. He won the Championship, UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, FA Cup and international recognition as a player, and crucially has a proven track record of success in Academy football.
Though obviously blatant club spin, it's hard to deny the fact that Steve Clarke's playing and coaching track record is phenomenal. Finding a manager with as good (if not better) reputation as Nigel Adkins was always going to be difficult, but with this appointment the club might well have done just that.
Steve 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."
Steve Clarke here is admitting that he's been brought in as a coach, first and foremost, and a manager secondarily. He's been told about the FFP situation, and will have to get most of his work done on the training field with the players has has and the youngsters coming through.
Co-Chairman Sir John Madejski said, "I would like to wholeheartedly welcome Steve to Reading Football Club and wish him every success here. He comes with a CV of the very highest order and I look forward to moving back up the table with him in charge.
Sir John re-emphasises the earlier point made about Steve Clarke coming with an incredible reputation and track record in the football management industry. Sir John of course doesn't miss out the one thing expected of Clarke immediately: results.
"It has been a difficult period for all concerned, but now we can look forwards. Nigel Adkins worked tirelessly to achieve success, sadly it did not work out for him but we wish him, his family and staff well for the future. Now we look forward to a new era under Steve's stewardship and I for one am excited about this new beginning."
Here's the cliche'd "we wish him the best" line, but in this instance you can see that it's true. Nobody could fault Adkins as a person (despite what you thought of his press conferences and general aura), but it was clear for all that Adkins' time was up.
One final point, interesting that Sir John calls them "his staff". I realise that it's technically correct, but it's unusual for staff that accompany a manager to be called "his" staff. Was there a disconnect?
Co-Chairwoman Lady Sasima Srivikorn said, "We have appointed Steve because of his proven history as a manager and coach. We have chosen a leader who can develop our players and help them perform to the best of their ability. We will monitor the transfer market in the next window, but within the limits of Financial Fair Play, so therefore Steve has the right attributes to help our squad and he was our first choice. We look forward to moving up the league and the board share the view that we have found the right man in Steve."
Again the line about his reputation and track record, but this time Sasima Srivikorn picks up on his leadership capabilities—something the Royals have been sorely lacking since the departures of McAnuff, Gorkss and Morrison in the summer.
Sasima mentions FFP, which we all know is a hot topic at board level for the club at the moment. Clarke is obviously expected to do what Adkins could not: improve the players.
Again, the aim of moving up the table is made clear. 16th in the Championship is unacceptable for these new Thai owners.
Chief Executive Nigel Howe said, "Steve joins us with an excellent track record, and having spoken to a number of people who have worked with him, his reputation is of the very highest calibre. I believe he will be an excellent fit here at Reading, I look forward to helping him succeed and we wish him the very best of luck."Steve has worked with some of the best in English football, including Luis Suarez, Didier Drogba, Jose Mourinho, Steven Gerrard, Gianfranco Zola, Frank Lampard, Ruud Gullit and Kenny Dalglish, as well as helping develop exceptional young talent like Saido Berahino, Raheem Sterling, Romelu Lukaku, Jordan Henderson, Shane Long, Mark Noble and many more.
Another line about his reputation, but Chief Exec Nigel Howe mentions his being a 'fit' at Reading, something many have picked up on since the official announcement. His attitude in press conferences, for one thing, is an immediate improvement on the positively positive Adkins.
The mention of specific players and their evident quality is interesting, especially the mention of Saido Berahino who has been doing exceptionally well in the Premier League this season. Is that an example of what the board wants from Clarke? Could the likes of Kuhl, Samuel and Obita be our Berahino under the tutelage of Clarke?
The 51-year-old will be in charge for this Saturday's game at home to Watford, and he will hold further discussions with the club about additions to his coaching staff.
There are further changes to come, with Clarke bringing in "his" coaching staff. I wonder whose staff Dolan and Bibbo are?
If you missed Clarke's first press conference, you can read a full transcript of it here.