Reading’s owners have acted quickly following the departure of Jaap Stam as manager, confirming that Paul Clement will be his replacement on a three year contract.
The 46-year-old emerged as an early favourite for the job on Wednesday, with both Sky Sports and the Daily Mail linking him to the RG2 hotseat, whilst the low odds backed that up. He then cut short a holiday in Los Angeles yesterday to fly home and agree a deal.
It will be Clement’s third job in management, following spells with Derby County and Swansea City. Despite having records at both clubs, taking the Rams to 5th in the Championship and securing the Swans’ Premier League status, he did not last longer than a year in either role.
Having failed to progress beyond non-league level as a player, Clement took up coaching from his early 20s, working within the academies of Fulham and Chelsea. 2009 brought his first major role, as he was appointed as Carlo Ancelotti’s assistant at Stamford Bridge, helping the Blues lift the Premier League in his first season. He would go on to be the Italian’s number two at PSG, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, winning the Champions League, Ligue 1 and the Club World Cup in that time. Aside from working with Ancelotti, Clement has also coached at Blackburn Rovers, as well as with the England Under-21s (alongside current senior boss Gareth Southgate) and the Republic of Ireland Under-21s.
Ron Gourlay, who was at Chelsea at the same time as Clement, commented:
“I am delighted to have secured the services of a hugely experienced forward-thinking manager like Paul, who I have personally worked alongside during our time spent at Chelsea.
“Not only has he coached at some of the greatest clubs in Europe, winning trophies, league titles and European honours and working with some of the greatest players in the world, fundamentally he also has a rich understanding of English football having managed in both the Championship and the Premier League in recent years.
“Now, everyone at Reading Football Club is fully behind Paul and his squad of players as, together, we initially set our sights on an eight-game battle and continue to strive to the take this club forward.”
Clement now has seven days until his first match against QPR on Good Friday, whilst he has eight games to try and save Reading from relegation to League One. Here’s hoping he can do it! #WelcomeClement