Regime changes in Ancient Rome were particularly brutal affairs. If a blood-thirsty, power-hungry potential ruler deposed the sitting monarch, it wasn’t the emperor that went in a coup. Also for the chop were his closest allies, friends and even family members.
Fortunately, coups in the footballing world are somewhat less violent, but the sudden, decisive nature of this week’s events have been like something out of I, Claudius. Or, for a more contemporary reference, think of the famous ‘Red Wedding’ scene from Game of Thrones.
Whatever your way of looking at it, the times certainly are a-changing at The Madejski Stadium. Following the news a few weeks ago that Ron Gourlay would be leaving his post as CEO, the last few days have been even more striking. On Wednesday, former CEO Nigel Howe returned to his post, before promptly axing under-fire manager Paul Clement yesterday morning.
Today it was the turn of technical director Gianluca Nani, who has left by mutual consent (officially, that is). You’d be forgiven for not knowing much about him - we don’t either. The Italian only replaced Brian Tevreden in September when he (Tevreden) quit the club, reportedly citing poor relations with then-CEO Gourlay.
Nani was pretty frank in his post-departure comments, telling the club’s official site:
“As the club is now moving in a different direction, I believe it is the right time for me to step away from the role. Even though it was only for a short time, I really appreciated my time at Reading Football Club. I met lovely people and great fans who have supported us through a difficult period.”
We’d all expected changes to be made when the new chief executive came in, but the swift, brutal nature of them would make even George RR Martin tell you to slow down a bit. Nigel Howe though ain’t hanging about. He’s presumably been empowered by Xiu Li Dai - formerly a low-key owner, but increasingly involved of late - to make drastic changes at RG2.
Where that goes, in the long-run, is anyone’s guess. Are the owners set on a return to The Reading Way, spearheaded by Howe, or will we see something more different? Who knows.
We’re certainly in for an exciting end to 2018.