Well, there aren't many people who don't know who our new manager is. As the announcement was made on the 13th of June, the general reaction was: "Stam? To Reading?!" Whilst the Dutchman doesn't have much senior managerial experience, there's no doubting that his appointment has excited and energised the fanbase. A true legend of the game, our first ever non-UK manager... the times, they are a-changin' at Reading Football Club and Stam is the man at the forefront of the Dutch Revolution.
And he's already exerting his influence. 21-year-old John Swift has signed for the Royals this off-season - he mentioned that he turned down a host of other clubs in order to work with Stam at the Madejski. The Dutch connection has been seen with the arrivals of Joey van den Berg and Roy Beerens, joining Danzell Gravenberch and Stam at Hogwood Park. And one more, rather famous Dutchman has been linked with a sensational move to Berkshire... Whilst the transfer looks up in the air, it's still encouraging that big names like Rafael van der Vaart are being linked with the Royals. After all, it's who you know...
Of course, from his previous role at Jong Ajax, Stam knows youth pretty well too. And that's been seen in some of the transfer activity so far. As well as Swift, we've added Yakou Meite, a 20-year-old Ivorian forward who was being chased by the likes of Middlesbrough, Crystal Palace and Genoa. Stam has added a dose of youthful flair to the experience of van den Berg, Jaakkola and Gravenberch - it's important to build for the future as well as the present. And whilst pre-season friendlies are the perfect time to give the squad an opportunity to impress, it's telling that Stam has kept many of Reading's Academy players around to assess them before the new season. There's nothing fans love more than a home-grown talent - the new manager looks to be trying to oblige heading into this campaign.
Seven players have so far made the move to the Madejski for the upcoming season but it can't be said that any of the new arrivals have truly stunned or energised the Reading support. It's a sign of the times and the wider scouting department, no doubt, but there's still a worry about these largely "under-the-radar" players coming in and having an instant impact in the Championship. John Swift aside, none of these players have played in England before; apart from Beerens, it's difficult to find an impressive CV on the more experienced players. It's far too early to tell, but having lost a number of players this off-season, these new Royals need to hit the ground running.
And those squad questions have been heightened even more with the spate of injuries ahead of Reading's first match of the Championship season against Preston on Saturday. Under Nigel Adkins we seemed to have a real injury crisis; those fears have reared their head again under Stam. Garath McCleary, Yann Kermorgant, Dominic Samuel and Joseph Mendes are all doubts as we gear up for the season opener, potentially leaving Deniss Rakels as the only senior recognised striker. Is this just bad luck or something worth monitoring as the campaign continues?
Much has been made of that revamped forward line, with the likes of Swift, Meite, Beerens and Mendes likely to play big roles in helping Reading get amongst the goals again. But in pre-season the Royals have still looked extremely shaky at the back, with little done to add depth in defensive areas. Van den Berg was tried in defence against Bournemouth but didn't impress, whilst Gravenberch is still young and steps up from the second division of Dutch football. The Royals are close to signing Leicester City's Liam Moore, who can play both at centre-back and at right-back. But depth still remains a worry if Jordan Obita or Paul McShane were to have an extended spell on the sidelines.
So how do you feel about Stam's first 50 days in charge? Let us know below - 5 is highest, 1 is lowest. And leave any thoughts about how you're feeling under Jaap, expectations for the season etc.