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Reading Manager Of The Decade: Brian McDermott

The Championship-winning manager dominated the vote.

Soccer - Reading Promotion Parade Photo by Steve Parsons/PA Images via Getty Images

We asked you to vote for your Reading team of the decade, and of course that team needs a manager. The full XI will be revealed in due course, but we can at this point announce that - unsurprisingly - the man in the dugout is Brian McDermott. He took 92.9% of the votes, comfortably beating off competition from Jaap Stam (3.8%) and Jose Gomes (3.3%).

McDermott started life as Reading manager in the previous decade, initially being appointed as Brendan Rodgers’ successor in December 2009. But he would spend more than years in his post before being dismissed in March 2013, later returning for a second spell in the first half of 2016.

That first spell was of course one of the most successful periods in Reading’s history. Having staved off the threat of relegation in 2010, McDermott led the Royals to the play-off final at Wembley in his first full season (2010/11) before going one further and sealing the title in 2011/12.

The next campaign may have been deeply disappointing, with McDermott sacked a couple of months before Reading went straight back down from the Premier League, but the fact that we got there in the first place was a huge achievement. For a previously inexperienced gaffer to turn the club around so starkly and in such a short space of time spoke volumes about McDermott’s quality as a manager.

It was all the more satisfying given the bond he had with the club. McDermott had worked behind the scenes for years before being replacing Rodgers on a temporary basis, and his connection with the supporters never waned - even during a difficult period in the second half of the 2015/16 season.

Memorable moment: Liverpool 1-2 Reading

Of course, McDermott had plenty of highlights as manager: sealing automatic promotion against Nottingham Forest, winning the title shortly after, beating Cardiff City to get Reading to Wembley and some memorable comeback wins in the Premier League. But it was in January 2010 that he really announced himself as a top-quality manager.

With Reading still struggling in the league at that point, the prospect of taking on Liverpool in the third round of the FA Cup was hugely daunting. At best, it was a free hit, a chance to give one of the best clubs in the country a tough game live on ITV.

But a 1-1 draw at the Mad Stad showed that Reading could compete, and gave us outside hope of a shock result in the replay at Anfield. And, after an own goal from Ryan Bertrand at the end of the first half, Gylfi Sigurdsson levelled the scores up in the 94th minute from the spot before Shane Long struck in extra time.