Jose Gomes’ sacking only last week sees the 49-year-old join an ever-growing list of managers to depart Berkshire in recent years. It’s fairly common knowledge where most of the former bosses have gone in their individual careers, but the detail behind their success - or lack thereof - might not just be as well known.
The Tilehurst End has decided to delve into the stats behind all the managers to leave or be axed from the Madejski Stadium since the turn of the millennium. This will only comprise permanent managers at the club although there have been four caretakers in that time.
Two words that leave a sour taste in some Reading fans mouths are Alan Pardew - following the controversial way in which he decided to ditch the Royals for West Ham United in 2003. Since then the clubs he has gone on to manage are well known - most recently West Bromwich Albion for a stint in the 2017/18. Although interestingly Pardew is currently on his longest break in management since taking up a managerial career starting with the Royals, he has been seen to making a few punditry appearances during that time.
The 58-year-old has racked up an average win percentage ratio of 36% with the six clubs he has managed since leaving the Madejski, with Southampton being the only club where he had a better ratio - at 53%, compared to 48% in Berkshire. The former midfielder has overseen 610 games in charge since the 211 with Reading between 1999-2003, meaning almost a quarter of his games as gaffer were with the blue and white hoops.
Most notably the Englishman reached the FA Cup final twice as a manager - once in charge of West Ham in 2006 and then again in 2016 with Crystal Palace. He also managed to guide Newcastle United to European football in 2012, seeing him claim the LMA Manager of the Year award, making him one of the more successful managers after departing ways with the Royals.
In complete contrast to Pardew, Steve Coppell is very much still adored by Reading fans - rightly so following the historical 106 achievement and Premier League performances. After leaving the Royals, Coppell managed Bristol City for a brief spell in 2010. He signed on a 12-month rolling contract but lasted only two games over four months and quit in August that same year due to a lack of ‘passion’ for management. The now 64-year-old then became sporting director at Crawley between 2012-2013 and then Portsmouth between 2013-2014.
However, the Manchester United legend returned to management in 2016 and took charge of three Indian Super League teams: Kerala Blasters, Jameshedur and ATK for a season each between 2016 and 2019. His best tenure in terms of win percentage came with Kerala Blasters with 41.2%, achieving 40% at Jamshedpur and 33.3% at ATK. Coppell’s best managerial days no doubt came with Reading and since then it became a rapid decline out of mainstream football management for the Mad Stad favourite.
A man before his time with Reading perhaps. Without a doubt Brendan Rodgers has had the most successful managerial career following a stint in Berkshire. After his brief spell with Reading in 2009, Rodgers became manager of Swansea City where he achieved promotion at the expense of his former club. The 46-year-old steered Swansea to some good performances, despite being relegation candidates, and as a result of his 44.8% win ratio (18.7% higher than the 26.1% with the Royals) he became the new Liverpool boss where he led them to a dismal seventh place in his first season.
In the three years with the Reds, Rodgers most famously nearly steered them to their first league title win in many years, but fell at the final hurdle. He did however win the first LMA manager of the year accolade in 50 years for a Liverpool manager. Entering his third season, the Northern Irishman became the first manager on Merseyside in half a century to not win a trophy within three seasons and so they departed ways - although his 50% win ratio was still admirable, just not enough.
With that, Rodgers joined Celtic in 2016 where he won seven successive trophies with an impressive 69.8% ratio over three seasons. In February this year he left to become Leicester City manager where he has started very well and looks to break the top-four mould following a fantastic start, with a current 50% win ratio. Without a doubt Brendan Rodgers has achieved the most success since leaving the Madejski despite having one of the least successful spells with Reading on this list.
Following Rodgers’ short stint with Reading, Brian McDermott became the gaffer for the first time in 2009. Obviously the former scout was also in charge of the Royals for a second, less successful, spell in 2015/16. The ex-Slough manager has only managed Leeds United since his time in charge of the Biscuitmen, where he achieved a win ratio of 37% across 54 games, which is inferior to the 45% with Reading in his first spell across 169 games. Of course the 58-year-old had much less success second time round with only a 30% win ratio.
Since departing Berkshire, McDermott has primarily gone back to his roots, working as chief scout at former club Arsenal before his second stint with Reading, and that is now where he has since returned to work behind the scenes.
Back during the Premier League days - how long ago they feel? - one of the most positive men in football came to take charge of Reading as they battled relegation. Nigel Adkins endured only 29 wins in 80 with Reading, a win ratio of 36.3%, which was enough to see him axed in 2014. As a result, the former goalkeeper took a step down to manage Sheffield United in League One, with little success as he lead them to their lowest league finish since 1983. That led to him being sacked once more, leaving behind a win ratio of 40.7%, superior to that of any job since his days with Southampton.
In 2017 Adkins returned to the Championship with Hull City, who he steered away from relegation in his first season before achieving a 13th place finish during the following campaign, which was admirable with the squad. However, he did not wish to renew his contract as the club’s and his futures weren’t ‘aligned’. The 54-year-old left the Tigers with a 33.3% win ratio and has yet to return to management, although rumours had suggested he favoured a return to Reading following Jose’s dismissal.
Fulham - the one word that resonates with most Royals fans when Steve Clarke comes to mind following his flirtations with the side and the big loss their under his tenure. The former Chelsea player achieved a 35.8% win ratio during his time in Berkshire and has enjoyed much better statistical success since his sacking in 2015.
In 2017 Kilmarnock came knocking for the Scotsman to give him a return to his homeland with his childhood club. Here Clarke enjoyed great success with a 50.6% win ratio that saw him guide the Scottish side to their highest ever points tally, 59, and collected the SFWA Manager of the Year award. Killie finished third in the following campaign, meaning they reached European football qualification.
That season he took both the SFWA and PFA (Scotland) Manager of the Year awards and was given the opportunity to manage his national side. Currently Clarke is in charge of Scotland, having won a third of their matches so far, but not looking any better than under many of his predecessors as they can’t qualify for EURO 2020.
As previously mentioned, 2012 was when McDermott returned for a second spell at the helm of Reading, but not long after he was followed by the first manager from outside the British Isles to take charge of the Royals in Jaap Stam. The Dutchman could have had very much a different career if Reading had managed to win that gruelling penalty shout-out at Wembley.
After his Royal sacking, Stam went onto manage PEC Zwolle in his home country. There he achieved a 41.2% win ratio which was enough to see him poached by Feyenoord where he now plies his trade and currently has his best win ratio, albeit in much fewer games (15), at 46.7% - compared to 40.8% in Berkshire over 98 matches.
The final name on this list is yet to find further employment following his dismal last year. Paul Clement departed the Madejski with one of the worst win ratios in recent times and certainly the worst on this list at 23.3%. That was an appalling seven wins in 30, although it wasn’t that much worse that Jose Gomes’ 23.7% which came from nine victories in 39 games.
Reading now enter another managerial era with Mark Bowen, and Gomes departs with the love of the fans just as Coppell and McDermott did, and to a lesser extent Adkins. Gomes’ record was certainly nowhere near the greatest, but perhaps he brought back something more important: the unity between the fans and the club, well at the time anyway. A thoroughly wonderful man who would be great to see go on to achieve great heights in the future. Obrigado Jose.