It's coming up to two years since the Thai consortium bought Reading Football Club. Sir John Madejski had been left hamstrung by the penniless and cowardly Anton Zingarevich, so at the time the news was greeted with euphoria. Surely the only way was up?
A rocky two years
Two years on and things are a little less positive. There are rumours circling that the owners are tight on money and unwilling to invest, results on the pitch have generally been poor (save for an FA Cup Semi-Final appearance), and there's uncertainty in both the playing and backroom staff. Oh, and Jaap Stam is the fourth manager to take the reins.
But for all the criticism of the owners and their trigger-happy ways, each manager can be explained fairly easily.
Nigel Adkins: not their man.
Steve Clarke: poor form followed by the Fulham saga.
Brian McDermott: not their man.
Stam's the man
With Jaap Stam, they finally have their man. Not only is he their man, but he's their man with a big name. It's well-known that the owners wanted to bring in a man whose name will increase the reputation (and revenue opportunities) of the club almost immediately. With Manchester United legend Stam in the dugout, they've achieved their objective.
Now the owners have their man, it's time for a little patience. It's time to look at the long-term objectives of Reading Football Club. It's time to admit that, sometimes, the only way to go forward is to take a step back. If you really are trying to copy the Ajax/Leicester model, you need to give it time to simmer down.
Until recently, Reading fans have been fairly proud of their club for not being like other clubs. Sir John Madejski was not a trigger-happy managerial merri-go-round type owner. Now it seems the owners and some fans crave change more than they do progress.
Progress takes time
Progress won’t be a smooth road to the top. It might take a few bumps along the way and a few sore arses, but there needs to be patience.
There will be some of you reading this that think it's naive of me to suggest patience still exists in football. After all, Watford finished midtable last season after a whole host of changes on the playing field and in the dugout. Leicester won the league after disposing of Pearson and replacing him with Ranieri. There are stories throughout the world of football of short-termism being rewarded.
There’s no denying it can work. But more often than not, it only works because there's a clear philosophy and structured approach from the top down. Reading are not, as far as we know, at that stage.
It takes time to implement a philosophy and that's only going to happen if the new manager and the players are given time by the owners. We fans have the additional burden of having to be patient with the owners, too. Suck it up. Back the boys.