The case for sacking Jaap Stam is mounting. That’s a fact. The defence of the Dutchman is wilting and one of the worries around letting the 45-year-old go is that he may go on and prove himself elsewhere. It’s not a fear that should hold the Royals back.
In the past, Reading have had fairly good luck in terms of its former managers not going on to be successful elsewhere. It’s fair to say that Steve Coppell, Brian McDermott, Nigel Adkins and Steve Clarke all failed to match their achievements (or lack of) after being let go by the club. Alan Pardew has done well but he was pinched rather than dumped.
However one example stands out: Brendan Rodgers.
There remains a handful of fans who believe Reading sacked the Northern Irishman too early and that he went on to be an idol at Swansea and Celtic, almost winning the league at Liverpool, attests to that. The fear is, therefore, that we may end up kicking out another young coach who goes on to prove us wrong.
Only, that’s not how football works. Reading went on to have great times under Rodgers’ successor, McDermott, as the new man saw where the team had been failing and revamped the same set of players to perform in his image. That is what should be the focus of a potential post-Stam era, not whether we’re actually letting the next Guardiola go and take Norwich to the big time.
We cannot afford to let anomalies taint our vision of how the seasons ahead will pan out. The club need to forget who Jaap Stam is or was and make the call in the cold light of day, in which Reading have won two of their last ten games.
If Stam goes on to do well elsewhere, it will be because he learns from his time at Reading and changes his ways by courtesy of a kick up the bum. If he doesn’t learn from it, we certainly needn’t worry about him doing a Rodgers.