So just like that, the second coming of Brian McDermott comes to a shuddering halt after only 161 days back in charge at the Mad Stad. Whereas many will view this dismissal as a further indicator of a game gone mad, a sizeable number of Royals' fans have made it known that they agree that McDermott needed to go to ensure the future progress of the club. Such a divide in opinion can be explained by looking back at some of the former Arsenal man's best and worst outings in the Reading hotseat, where whilst delivering some credible results, many of the Royals' faithful feel that he also oversaw many performances that left a lot to be desired.
Three for us to remember...
Reading 1-0 Blackburn (20th December 2015)
After the acrimonious sacking of Steve Clarke had left a sour taste in the mouth of many Reading fans, everyone was desperate to bring the feel good factor back to the Madejski Stadium. So when McDermott was able to pick up a victory on the day of his homecoming, it gave the Royals' fans a much needed morale boost ahead of the busy Christmas period. A spectacular Danny Williams strike against a Blackburn side previously unbeaten in eight also meant that Brian was able to achieve this successful return in some serious style.
Reading 3-1 West Brom (20th February 2016)
Proving that the Royals had not lost any of their FA Cup pedigree from the previous season, McDermott oversaw victories over first Championship rivals Huddersfield and then League 1 high-flyers Walsall to set up a fifth-round clash against Premier League West Brom. Despite falling behind to a Darren Fletcher strike, two brilliantly worked set-pieces allowed both Paul McShane and Michael Hector to find the back of the net, before loanee Lucas Piazon capped off a thrilling game by slotting home from a well worked team goal.
Charlton 3-4 Reading (27th February 2016)
One of the Royals' most resilient performances of the McDermott era came at The Valley, just one week after their FA Cup heroics against West Brom. Things seemed to be going to plan against the rock-bottom Addicks when Yann Kermorgant found the net after four minutes, but just two minutes later the much maligned Arsenal loanee Yaya Sanogo equalised for the home side. However, when a second goal from Kermorgant and then one from Ola John allowed the Royals to go in at half-time with a 3-1 lead, the points seemed to be safe. That was until a second half collapse which saw Sanogo claim his first English football hat-trick and what appeared to be a much needed point for the London strugglers. But the Royals rallied and their hard work paid off in the form of Deniss Rakels' injury-time winner, his first goal for the club, which ensured all three points were coming back to Berkshire.
And three for us to forget...
MK Dons 1-0 Reading (16th January 2016)
Reading's first defeat of 2016 triggered a run of form that would see the Royals pick up just one further away win all season, the aforementioned outing at The Valley. Despite having more possession and attempts on goal than their opponents, the Royals were simply unable to breach the Dons' backline, allowing the hosts to escape the relegation zone and extend the visitors' winless run to three games in all competitions.
Huddersfield 3-1 Reading (8th March 2016)
On what was the Royals' fourth outing against Huddersfield in the 2015/16 season, they found themselves blown away by a blistering second-half performance from the home side, which gave little cause for optimism for Reading fans ahead of their FA Cup Quarter-Final against Crystal Palace the following Friday. Appearing to offer little up front in terms of attacking flair and dynamism, the Royals surrendered their five game unbeaten streak going into the game to a side who themselves were winless in four entering the fixture.
Reading 1-2 Preston North End (30th April 2016)
A result that serves as the embodiment of the issues that faced McDermott during his 161 days in charge at the club. An ultimately toothless attacking display, compounded by their inability to see out a performance, meant that the Royals threw away a result by conceding a late goal for the fourth time in five games. It was hardly the send-off that McDermott was looking for in what was the final home game of the season. But unfortunately, it was the sort of performance that Reading fans had become accustomed to during the closing months of the campaign. The writing appeared to be on the wall that a complete overhaul of the club would be needed to stop the rot. However, not everyone expected or hoped that this overhaul would also see the removal of McDermott from his post for the second time.
Do you agree with these choices? Or are there some performances that we've left out that you are think are worth mentioning? Let us know in the comments below!