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DEBATE: Brian McDermott: Magic Move Or Mega Mistake?

Brian McDermott's return as Reading manager is one that's caused plenty of debate among the fanbase - here Wimb & Jonny make the case for and against the appointment.

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Magic Move - Wimb

If you had a set of nameless CV's in front of you and one you came across had a play-off final, Championship win, two FA Cup quarter-finals and a Premier League Manager of the Month award on it, you'd probably be picking up the phone and sweeping the rest in the bin.

Brian McDermott's Championship record at Reading speaks for itself - quite simply he's had a successful season in each of the three years he's managed us in the second tier and that's even with a squad that got progressively worse with each passing season. Gyfli Sigurdsson, Matt Mills and Shane Long were sold for around £17m and his total spend during three seasons in the Championship? Somewhere around the £2m mark.

To get a team containing players like Jay Tabb, Shaun Cummings, Ian Harte, Noel Hunt & Jobi McAnuff to finish above West Ham and Southampton was a phenomenal achievement and if he could earn such results with such limited resources, why should he not do even better with more money at his disposal?

Brian was far from flawless during his first spell here but few managers are, especially when they're given peanuts to try and compete in the toughest division in world football. Given what we know now about Anton Zingarevich's lack of finances, is it any surprise we got relegated? As both Nigel Adkins & Steve Clarke have shown, the squad was in a desperate need of a refresh but lacking the funds to do so.

if he could earn such results with such limited resources, why should he not do even better with more money at his disposal?

Sure Brian's style and selections baffled us at times, perhaps he was overly loyal to players or stubborn at changing his ways but you can't fault a guy for going back to a strategy that had been so successful before. Even the great Steve Coppell went through the same failings eventually. He's been away from the club for nearly three years and has no doubt learned a hell of a lot not only from his failings at Reading & Leeds but also by working for one of the most consistent clubs in Europe, Arsenal.

I know many were far from happy at the style Reading played under McDermott but to that I'll point you to some magnificent displays during the spring of 2010 and to a lesser extent 2011. When Brian had quality players like Sigurdsson & Long available he played to their strengths, leading to both positive results & positive football. When the quality of players gave way to relying on heart and grit, he did what he had to do. Now he's back at a club looking to build rather than patch up a slowly fading squad and he deserves the chance to show he can play that type of football once again.

Above all that, he's whole heatedly a Reading man. This isn't a bloke using the club as a stepping stone, or a man who has no idea of the cultures and traditions of Reading Football Club. He knows the Madejski crowd, he knows many of the staff and most importantly he knows how to get us out of this division.

So if you're worried about a Premier League Reading under Brian McDermott, sit back and enjoy us trying to get there first.


Mega Mistake - Jonny

"Absence makes the heart grow fonder."

That's certainly the case with Brian McDermott, whose time at Reading was ultimately ended by a feeling that he was too loyal to his players and - perhaps - out of his depth. Nigel Adkins couldn't save the Royals, but nor could McDermott, who typified "the Reading way" perhaps better than any other manager in our history. The players he had at his disposal in that promotion-winning campaign certainly weren't world-beaters, but they were underdogs who felt they had a point to prove in overcoming the odds and winning promotion.

But players change. Owners change. Fans change. Times change.

This team is no longer a group of players with a chip on their shoulder. This is a squad that we, as fans, believe is capable of promotion; after all, we were all on board the bandwagon during that amazing run earlier this campaign under Steve Clarke. This is a squad filled with flair, with trickery, with individuality that is nothing like what we saw from that 2011/12 side. There's no Jem Karacan or Mikele Leigertwood in this midfield (Stephen Quinn comes close, but is far from the midfield harrier that Karacan became). There's no Jason Roberts or Noel Hunt up front. There's no Jobi McAnuff chasing on the wing. This is a side that, largely, has been there and done it, and if not, are looking for the dream of the Premier League either here or elsewhere. This is not a side that's content to bubble under. This is not a side that fits "the Reading way". Players change.

'Players change. Owners change. Fans change. Times change.'

As Jon Keen wrote on the day McDermott was sacked, perhaps "the Reading way" died once John Madejski relinquished his powers and sold the club to new owners. It might not be the same person in charge now, but the Thais' grand plans for the club, the stadium and the town certainly do not fit the previous modus operandi of Reading Football Club. Like it or not, this isn't little old Reading any more; this is a club that is looking to the lights of the Premier League and hoping to one day establish itself in the top flight for years to come. Brian McDermott, like it or not, isn't a glamorous appointment, and though the fans will have an affinity towards the returning knight, it's the decision in the boardroom that counts most. Owners change.

Perhaps McDermott helped kill "the Reading way" himself with his tactical decisions during those fateful last few games. The fans started to turn on players, jeer them mercilessly until they were taken off; ultimately, the crowd was affecting the manager's decisions. That has certainly continued over the last few years. Frustration at the demise over the last few years is one reason, for sure - the fall from grace so quickly has been galling. But this situation is far different from the one he walked into five years ago. It's a "safe" appointment, a steady hand who's proven himself at this club once. But will he be afforded the same patience if the Royals keep failing in the league? Let's not forget, after all, it was McDermott's heroics in the FA Cup which led to him getting the job full time. A full-time contract was awarded after five games without a League win. That wasn't enough credit in the bank for Steve Clarke, despite his historic achievement. Fans change.

"The Reading Way" has changed significantly since McDermott was last at the Madejski, and times change. Past success or perceived harsh treatment should count for nothing, because the massive shift everywhere in the club means this is a completely different situation. The players, the fans and the owners all expect to win - a totally alien scenario to anything he's experienced anywhere else. That's not to say he won't be successful, but it isn't by any means an inspirational appointment, or one which instantly announces Reading to the world. We don't owe Brian anything, and he doesn't owe us anything. Times change.

"The Reading Way" is dead, and the appointment of Brian McDermott signals a return to those days of being the underdog. We're that no longer. Deep down, we're desperate for more.


So that's how we see it but how do you see the appointment? Let us know in the comments below.