On Monday afternoon, it was revealed that Mark Bowen - who as sporting director would presumably have been in charge of finding Jose Gomes’ replacement and had a say in Gomes getting the sack - had been appointed as the Portuguese’s successor.
Gomes had spent the last 10 months or so gluing back together all the bits that had broken at the club during the previous 18 months. And, on the whole, he did a very good job of uniting the fanbase. To be fair to the club, they have continued that united feeling in the fanbase with the hiring of Bowen - just not how they would’ve liked to.
As soon as the news broke, Twitter went absolutely crazy. I don’t think I have seen one tweet, even one small remark, that has been in favour of the former Stoke City assistant manager becoming the new number one at the Mad Stad. If he didn’t know already, Bowen will certainly know now that he is walking into a baptism of fire.
The pressure will be on the Welshman from the get go - I mean, it already is. Yes, he could go on and completely change our form and lift us up and up the table and, for his sake above all else, I seriously hope he does. However, he will be faced with pessimism, anger and frustration from the fans immediately because, let’s face it, the idea of the man who may have sacked the last manager making himself the new one doesn’t really smell too good does it?
Like it or not, it is now our job and duty as fans to get behind the team. We need to come to realisation of the fact that Mark Bowen is the new manager of Reading Football Club and, at this point in time, there isn’t a fat lot we can do about it.
Here’s a selection of the more family-friendly, cleaner opinions from the Reading faithful...
I will back Bowen. Only because I love my team. I am not happy with his appointment. We voiced our anger/disappointment but it’s time to look forward now. Let’s hope he proves us wrong. #readingfc— Kate (@Kate_urzzzz) October 14, 2019
And to think I was dreading Mark Hughes. I would do anything to have Mark Hughes in charge now instead of Bowen #readingfc— Mark Fidgett (@MarkFidgett) October 14, 2019
Sad to see how low we have gone. Even have ex-players/professionals accusing Bowen of abusing his powers to get the job. The players will have no respect for him. This will be the relegation season. #ReadingFC— Stuart (@fents17) October 14, 2019
Hope Bowen proves me wrong but the entire situation stinks #readingfc— Jonathan Davies (@Jonny94Davies) October 14, 2019
I’m not convinced in the slightest about this signing, but I’m fully prepared to give Bowen a chance and will be 100% behind him on Saturday. For any of you considering booing for 90 minutes against Preston or making a scene, don’t even bother coming. #readingfc https://t.co/t5GtpfdyFq— joely (@dingjoely) October 14, 2019
Coming off Twitter for a bit. So many jumping on the bandwagon— Pedro‼️ (@PictonPedro) October 14, 2019
Bowen signed most of the new players. Players Gomes failed to get results with.
Gonna be a lot of hypocrits if this pays off.
Looking forward to hopefully cheering on #ReadingFC to 3pts on Saturday.
Gomes: I’ve figured out our best formation and strongest XI. What do you think, Mark?— Scott from the States (@American_Royals) October 14, 2019
Bowen: I highly recommend you keep chopping and changing every game. At least until the international break...#ReadingFC pic.twitter.com/urCQmRW5xV
I honestly have no idea if Mark Bowen will be a good manager for #readingfc or not - but any process where someone who has obvious influence on sackings & appointments gets the job themself leaves a nasty taste in the mouth.— Jon Keen (@urzz1871) October 14, 2019
Forget the questionable ethics behind Bowen sacking Gomes and getting the job himself, the fact we're relying on a manager with zero managerial experience to turn our season around is bewildering #ReadingFC— Ben (@BenParsons89) October 14, 2019
So then, as you can see - it hasn’t been the most positive of responses from the Loyal Royals. I just hope Bowen knows what he’s walking into. Honestly, one or two bad results and the pressure will ramp up - big style.
It all kicks off for the Welshman on Saturday at home to Preston North End and, as I’ve previously mentioned, whether we like it or loathe it - we have to get behind the club and the players on Saturday. I feel exactly the same and am just as unconvinced and apathetic about the situation as the next Reading fan. But I want Bowen to prove me wrong. I want him to be a good manager for us, because at the end of the day, I love the club more than anything else.
We need to look forward, and look ahead to Preston. Bowen wins that game and it’ll go a long way to winning over the fans... I hope.
If you did want a little more reaction from the fans to the news of Bowen’s appointment - I’ll leave the official confirmation tweet from the club for you to have a read of the replies. It’ll give you a good, concise overview of the overall thoughts towards the decision...