Earlier this week, we asked you to have your say on Jose Gomes’ final weeks as Reading manager in our latest approval rating. Perhaps unsurprisingly, there was a big drop from his previous results - you gave him an average score of 2.92/5. That’s his lowest number as Royals boss, some way behind February (3.41), May (4.26) and August (3.84).
However, it’s ahead of the final scores given to Steve Clarke (2.71) and Brian McDermott (2.66), and well clear of Jaap Stam (1.8) and Paul Clement (1.9). Going by that metric, Jose Gomes is the most well-liked manager at the point of their sacking that Reading have had in recent years.
It certainly reflects Gomes’ popularity among the supporters. As various people have pointed out on Twitter, he was sacked well before the fans turned on him. Even during the recent six-match winless run there were no chants calling for his dismissal - although I noticed a few people randomly shouting ‘Gomes Out’ in the 1-0 defeat at Bristol City.
That’s largely down to his part in helping Reading to avoid relegation last season - at the end of the day, that’s what he was initially brought in to do and he got the job done. Considering the downwards trajectory on which the club was headed at that point, he did well to keep Reading in the second tier.
For me though, it’s much more down to a connection with the supporters that really felt genuine. Gomes really seemed to value the fans and, simply put, was very likeable. That may seem like faint praise, but that’s exactly what Reading needed after the spells of Stam and Clement - who often came across as somewhat distant and out of touch.
Indeed, going back through our snap Twitter polls on whether or not those three sackings were the right decision (admittedly not the most scientific of approaches), you get some starkly different results.
- Jaap Stam: 72% backed his dismissal in March 2018 (12% against, 16% unsure)
- Paul Clement: 64% were in favour of him going in December 2018 (13% no, 22% unsure),
- Jose Gomes: 76% of you thought it was the wrong decision to sack him and 26% approved.
Admittedly, a lot of that is down to timing. Stam had been given plenty of time to turn Reading around by the point he was dismissed, so there was understandably less patience from the supporters, while Clement had got almost half the way through last season before being sacked. There may well have been more support for Gomes going if he’d been unable to turn around Reading’s fortunes over the next couple of months.
Nonetheless, I do think Gomes’ popularity with the fans played a big part in stopping both his approval rating and sacking poll results from dropping lower. Indeed, despite getting the same achievement as Gomes in keeping Reading up by a narrow-ish margin, Clement never really had that same affinity to fall back on.
For some more context, you can view our full approval ratings from over the years below.