It’s actually happened. Paul Ince is no longer manager of Reading Football Club. When the news broke on Tuesday morning, I felt a relief like no other I’ve experienced as a Reading fan.
There was only one place we were going with Ince at the helm and that was down to League One. Let’s be honest, it should’ve been done a long, long time ago and the phrase ‘too little too late’ springs to mind. But it’s already given fans a boost, which is vital going into the last five games.
Here’s how the fans reacted to the news of Ince’s sacking and Noel Hunt’s appointment.
He may go down as the most unpopular manager in the history of the club. Usually, there are split opinions when it comes to sacking managers. And, at the end of the day, someone is losing their job and that’s never a nice thing.
However, I don’t think there’s a single Reading fan who is unhappy that Ince is no longer manager and feels he deserved to be given more time. If there is, I haven’t seen them.
He got dealt a bad hand and what he did last season can’t go unnoticed. However, he laughed at our situation, blamed everyone but himself and ultimately didn’t really care whether we went down or not because in his mind there was nothing he could’ve done to prevent that happening.
Here’s how the fans reacted to the big news...
Ince set the team up to fail, a commitment to the “5-3-2 Route-One Lump It to Andy Carroll System” was never going to bear fruits.— George (@_georgewillis) April 11, 2023
Talking the team down, dettaching himself from #ReadingFC and shirking blame was always going to result in the fans turning on him. Good riddance
I knew Ince would be a bad appt. I didn’t get excited by his good start this season but I did respect the increased work ethic of the players at the start of his tenure. It didn’t last and we’ve been hopeless for a while. C’mon Noel! #Readingfchttps://t.co/nch60sYmPs— Matthew Hopkins (@matthewtw33ts) April 11, 2023
A lot of outsiders thinking they’re experts, without actually having a clue of the situation. It was almost like a smaller scale of Conte at spurs towards the end. Poor results, performances and tactics, but Ince would take absolutely no responsibility for any of it. #readingfc— Trenchy (@AdamHumphries96) April 11, 2023
Club/ownership is ultimately most responsible for the dire situation that #readingfc find themselves in but Ince's tenure had long since become totally toxic. Undoubtedly the right decision but should really have come weeks ago to give them the best chance of beating the drop.— George Flood (@GeorgeFlood24) April 11, 2023
Paul Ince will go down as the worst, least respected idiot this club has ever had. Laughing at fans, claiming he’s a good manager. He’s a serial loser, good riddance to him. #readingfc— micah (@m1871e) April 11, 2023
Defended Ince in past but had to go, please manager bounce gods #readingfc— Darren S (@uptheroyals1871) April 11, 2023
Sad in some ways because I genuinely think Ince turned things around last season but he had clearly run out of ideas and was presiding over some god awful football with little to no chances created. #readingfc— Simon C (@DancesWithYaks) April 11, 2023
With that great news, that's Coventry away booked. I couldn't face another away game under Ince. #ReadingFC— Michael Edwards (@Tedster90) April 11, 2023
Paul Ince is the perfect example of an ex pro who thinks he's entitled to a job. Has all the mouth and arrogance but no skills to back it up. #readingfc— Bendrix (@Benjmeister85) April 11, 2023
SDR stated the day Ince was appointed that #readingfc had made a massive mistake. As usual Sirdodger is always spot on with his predictions. It's probably too late but sometimes miracles occur. Fingers crossed. That will probably be Ince's last job in Management at this level.— Sir Dodger Royal (@SirDodgerRoyal) April 11, 2023
The right decision. It had become very stale under Paul Ince with his one-dimensional tactics and questionable attitude after matches. Big task for Noel Hunt and co now.#ReadingFC https://t.co/WdxtJWi4eB— Sam Rourke (@samrourke_) April 11, 2023
Ince had to go, there’s no question at all about that. But we are now onto our 10th manager since McDermott was sacked in 2013. That says all you need to know about the state of our club. Humongous job for Bowen in the summer, right now I just really hope we stay up #readingfc— Ross (@rossm1871) April 11, 2023
Out with the old and in the with the new. In this scenario the new is none other than Noel Hunt. It was the obvious choice to install him as interim until the end of the season but my God has he got a job on his hands now.
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves: Ince going doesn’t solve all our problems by any means. My heart says Hunt will keep us up, unfortunately my head still says it’s too little too late. What the appointment has done though is reinvigorate a fanbase who had accepted relegation.
The atmosphere at the game on Saturday will be the complete opposite of what it would’ve been if Ince were still on charge - and we needed a boost like that.
Hunt may not be manager for long, but while he’s here, he'll sure have the support of the Loyal Royals...
Putting Noel Hunt in charge until the end of the season is just such a game changer. The fans will now 100% be behind the team and no matter what happens it won’t affect how we see Noel, he didn’t get us into this position but does have the chance to get us out. #readingfc— Ryan Light (@ryandgl) April 11, 2023
Noel Hunt is our best hope, and I fully trust him. He can’t change much, but hopefully grind out a few wins to keep us safe. Could be carnage if we stay up at home to Wigan. #readingfc— micah (@m1871e) April 11, 2023
#readingfc Eddie Niedzwiecki, will be his Assistant Manager. Yes, that is an incredible move. Noel Hunt and Eddie that's perfect I feel the optimism creeping in. It feels great!— Michael Hunter (@Michael_BHunter) April 11, 2023
Think the club have made a shrewd move with Noel Hunt he will get the crowd behind him #readingfc regardless of what happens he shouldn’t be tarnished with this on his CV— Dave McCormack (@davemc_exile) April 11, 2023
So when @Noelhunt20 wins on Saturday, are we singing ‘He’s better than Klopp, He’s better than Pep, Noel Hunt, he’s better than both’. Now’s the time to get behind the team and the team to fight & dig in. #readingfc— Hannah Miles (@HannahJM1806) April 11, 2023
Right decision but far too late. All we can do is get behind Noel Hunt and the boys now, all negativity stops until the end of the season, we got we wanted. 5 cup finals. #readingfc https://t.co/lHuhJudlm5— Dan (@DanFromTheDing_) April 11, 2023
Time to get behind Noel Hunt and give it everything we've got for the rest of the season #readingfc— Dan (@DanTheMan__98) April 11, 2023
Time to back Noel Hunt!— Noel Hunt's Barmy Army | Reading FC (@bluewhitewall) April 11, 2023
Massive first game in charge on Saturday.
Couldn't be more happy to finally have a new manager!
Time for Noel Hunt to show us and other clubs what he is capable and see if he is good enough to be a manager.
Big few games for all of us.#ReadingFC
Full respect to Noel Hunt for taking the job in these circumstances. It’s given the fans a lift, let’s hope it does the same for the players #readingfc— Ben Thomas (@mrblthomas) April 11, 2023
Appointing Hunt is the right choice for now someone we will get behind and someone who’s done incredibly well with the 21’s and hopefully he can convince a lot of them to sign new deals #readingfc— Joshua Williams (@Jwills40) April 11, 2023
This is it then, we’ve made our move. The final roll of the dice has come far, far too late in my opinion but it’s been done now and all we can do is get behind Hunt and the boys for 90 minutes in each of the last five games.
On Monday we didn’t have a hope of staying in this league, but now we have a glimmer of hope. And that’s better than nothing.