In news that has been greeted with great pleasure by the fanbase, Reading have confirmed that Nigel Gibbs and Karl Halabi will return to Berkshire to be a part of Paul Clement’s backroom staff. The new manager worked with the pair at previous club Swansea City, but both men also have been with the Royals in the past too.
Gibbs, who spent his entire professional career at Watford, joined Reading at the start of the 2006-07 season as a coach under Steve Coppell. Largely working within the academy, the 52-year-old became assistant manager following Brian McDermott’s appointment in January 2010. As a result, he played a key role in the club’s back-to-back FA Cup quarter-finals in 2010 and 2011 and then eventual promotion to the Premier League in 2012. He departed the club following McDermott’s sacking in March 2013.
Meanwhile, Halabi is perhaps less well-known, but actually started his football career with the Royals at the age of 10. He would stay at Elm Park until the age of 18 before departing to enter the world of coaching. But he would return in 2009 to become the Head of Sports Science when Brendan Rodgers was given the manager’s position. Whilst Rodgers was sacked just six months later, Halabi stayed at the club to work under McDermott, and like Gibbs he was part of 2011-12’s Championship winning season.
It’s certainly a hugely pleasing decision from Clement to appoint two men with previous connections to the Royals, here’s hoping they can replicate their previous success in RG2!
The official club website has provided a full profile of both Gibbs and Halabi, who will join existing staff members Michael Gilkes and Dave Beasant in helping Paul Clement attempt to try and drag Reading away from relegation trouble.