clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Steve Clarke Approval Rating - July 2015

Are you happy with the job Steve Clarke is doing as Reading manager? Vote now.

Tom Dulat/Getty Images

Positives

So far we've only played one match of the "new" season - a 2-2 draw with the Thailand All-Stars - so it's a bit harsh to judge Steve Clarke on any results since the last time we ran this poll. Instead, plenty of transfer business has taken place since Clarke was given the green light. One would assume that the Reading manager had the say on these deals, and generally they have been well received.

Orlando Sa was the first to join the Royal ranks, after scoring 14 League goals for Legia Warsaw last season - made all the more impressive by his actual time on the pitch (19 starts and 14 times off the bench). Later that week, Jonathan Bond made the short trip down the M25/M4 from Watford to become Reading's new goalkeeper. An England U21 international who travelled with the squad to the European U21 Championships, he seems to have immense potential and could be a steal.

Talking of stealing, Clarke has managed to lure three players to Reading without paying a fee at all. Midfielder Stephen Quinn joined from Hull City, then just two days later it was another ex-Tiger becoming a Royal, as Paul McShane signed a deal at the Mad Stad. And though at the time of writing it's not official, Ali Al-Habsi is expected to be announced as a Reading player later on Tuesday. Three players with Premier League experience all signed for a total transfer outlay of zero. Good business indeed.

Of course, it wouldn't be a transfer window without speculation, and there's been plenty of that - to record-breaking levels. Our transfer record currently stands at £2.5m for Emerse Fae, but reports in Austria suggested that might not last much longer (thankfully, it's a tad embarassing). Robert Beric the man in question, a Slovenian striker who scored 27 times in the Austrian Bundesliga last season. And the reports of interest were confirmed by the club, though they look unlikely to meet the asking price from Rapid Vienna. Still, statements of intent can be positive news, and this was one from the ownership as much as the manager.

Negatives

Well, three of our best and most loved players left the club this off season. And whilst you can't deny any of them the move, it remains to be seen whether the grass is greener on the other side - for both parties.

2011/12 Player of the Season Alex Pearce leaves for Derby County. 2014/15 Player of the Season Adam Federici leaves for Bournemouth. Club captain Jem Karacan leaves for Galatasaray. Whilst deals were offered to these players, they were very much club-friendly contracts and unlikely to be signed unless nothing else came up. All three have moved to "bigger" clubs in fairness, but keeping at least one of those star players would have been a statement of intent, from the Thai owners as much as from Steve Clarke.

And so far the club's spending has been minimal, certainly compared to other clubs. Five players in, three of them on free transfers. Now, the club is still recovering from the Anton era of recklessly high contracts but with high earners off the wage bill, this is the chance to make things happen again. And whilst the bids for Beric and Donaldson are on record, they've not been accepted. Even Jamie Mackie chose to return to QPR rather than Reading.

Perhaps the purse strings will be loosened. But with the backing of the Thais, a good number of high contracts off the books, and the increase in television money from next season, now is the time to be showing that we mean business. Whoever comes in, the performances on the pitch and the results will need to be far more positive to reinvigorate the fanbase.

Are you confident going forward into the next campaign? Vote below (5 is highest, 1 is lowest) and let us know your thoughts in the comments section.

;