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Hunty’s Column: Stand By Your Stam?

Is it time to say goodbye to the gaffer? Hunty’s not so sure.

Brentford v Reading - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Harry Murphy/Getty Images

You put your Jaap Stam in, your Jaap Stam out, you have a can of Carabao and you shake it all about.

That pretty much sums up what is going on at Reading at the minute. All this talk of the manager staying or going from the fans, whilst Stam seems to be hoping a magic genie appears to turn around the Royals’ form.

Stam is continually shuffling his pack of cards each week. He is like a desperate gambler on a bad streak, hoping one lucky bet will save him.

He could play his joker (or as we know it a striker), but he is the boss and what do we know?

A dozen games into the season and the goodwill factor of last season is fading very fast. We are back to the below par, frustrating, should-do-better Reading that we saw in seasons under Steve Clarke, Nigel Adkins and Brian McDermott Part Two.

The win at Leeds United just over a week ago promised hope, but the game at Sheffield United was a reality check.

Sam Smith may not be Gary Lineker or Harry Kane. However, when you’re two down and desperately need a goal, what do you? That's right, bring on a central defender. Think of that from Smith’s point of view - it can only damage the young man’s confidence.

Stam's ‘it's my way or the highway’ approach worked last season - it was new, refreshing and the players bought into it.

However, at times this season the players look just as confused as some of his substitutions. They seem frustrated, lacking in energy or just plain bored - I’m not sure which.

Who will be Reading’s saviour?

We didn't get a star striker? Oh well, stop sulking and get over it! You can always get one in the post Christmas sales.

That said, Jaap Stam might not get the chance to hit the sales if he’s been kicked out of his job by January.

Instead, Yann The Man looks like he will again have to play the role of messiah if this season is to get back on track. He brings this team together and somehow makes it work. But can he really be expected to repeat last year’s performances?

Experienced players like Chris Gunter, Sone Aluko and Dave Edwards need to find consistency. Conversely, young guns like John Swift and Liam Kelly have to rediscover the spark in their game so we can create opportunities.

Fans’ opinions will always be divided over a struggling manager. Is sacking Stam the answer? I'm not really sure.

He possibly deserves more time after his surprise success last season, but how long do you give him to turn things around?

In the modern game, other managers in his position would be gone by now. I think he has until Christmas, enough time to show improvement with the majority of players fit.

If it does improve, then he can invest in the team in January. If not, then give that job to someone else.

One thing is for sure, being a Reading fan ain't good for your health.