After a rollercoaster 18 months - to say the very least - Ron Gourlay handed in his resignation on Monday morning. It’s not controversial to say Gourlay wasn’t the most popular man amongst the Reading fans, and in recent weeks that had become more and more apparent.
Ever since he joined the club in the summer of 2017, it’s been a torturous slide to the mess the club is in right now. How much you think Gourlay has to do with that is down to a matter of opinion, but I think I can guess how the majority of the fanbase are feeling right now.
Of course, no fan can really be 100% sure what goes on behind the scenes at Reading, but as CEO, Gourlay would’ve been heavily involved with staff recruitment and the commercial side, that’s just the nature of the job.
Since Gourlay joined, staff turnover has been abnormally busy for Reading - a club that have always had an identity of loyal, popular members of staff. The likes of Steven Reid, Lee Herron and Brian Tevreden have all left the club under Gourlay’s reign.
As soon as the news broke, it got people talking. Reading fans took to Facebook and Twitter to voice their opinions...
The majority were pretty happy...
I think it’s fair to say that the majority of the fanbase are pretty happy that Gourlay has gone. The #ReadingFC Twitter hashtag pretty much blew up when the news was announced - here’s some of the fans’ initial reaction to Gourlay’s departure...
Like just about every Reading fan I am delighted to see Gourlay leave. Shame he may get a nice fat pay off though as he hasn’t earnt it.#readingfc— Rob Molloy (@Dobcheck73) November 19, 2018
Very happy to see Ron Gourlay depart the club. Made bad decision after bad decision in terms of recruitment of players and managerial staff. Hopefully the next CEO will bring more success both on and off the pitch #readingfc— Jack (@thesimpsonRFC) November 19, 2018
Matthew Batten said on Facebook:
“The best news since his appointment.”
It is well known that Gourlay played a big part in getting Clement to the club, so you’d imagine the pressure is as heavy as ever on the manager, without his employer at the club anymore.
James Ryan commented on Facebook, simply saying
“Good cheerio, Clement next!!”
Surely Clement is next to go, I just can’t see him turning it around, refreshing my Twitter every 5 mins. #ReadingFC— George Blair (@GeorgeBlairr) November 19, 2018
With Ron Gourlay’s shock but welcomed exit today, Manager Paul Clement has lost a strong supporter of his, and now we embark on a very testing run of fixtures. #ReadingFC— Takin’ The Biscuit (@TakinTheBiscuit) November 19, 2018
Old face returning?
Brian Tevreden was one of the many high-profile members of staff to leave the Madejski Stadium while Gourlay was CEO, and a piece of social media activity from the Dutchman got the Reading fans talking about a possible return.
Pretty much as soon as the news broke on Monday morning, Tevreden tweeted three fire emojis, suggesting he was pretty happy the former Chelsea man had resigned - following rumours that the reason Tevreden left was that he couldn’t work with Gourlay.
Some fans expressed their desire for Brian to return, while some were a bit more sceptical...
Brian Tevreden CEO— Alex Stone (@_alexgstone) November 19, 2018
Steve Coppell Director of Football imo #readingfc
What’s all this love-in for Tevreden about? Responsible for some truly awful signings. Don’t want him back here. #readingfc— Paul Smith (@Skeptichead) November 19, 2018
Monday’s news could be huge for Reading’s season. Whether it’s cynical or not, Gourlay’s departure may just be the catalyst to unite the fans and the club once again. But some big decisions still remain. Where does this leave Paul Clement’s future? Who’s going to come in and replace Gourlay? Both are big issues that need to be answered by the owners.
Hopefully we’ll see some answers in the next couple of days and we can start fully focusing on the football, the thing that really matters.