News and Views

Stam Finally Arrives As New Reading Manager

13 June 2016
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Reading will finally, officially, unveil Jaap Stam as new team manager in this afternoon's press conference. Stam has arrived at the club to complete his contract signing after weeks of waiting following the departure of former boss Brian McDermott. Stam was immediately named as the likely successor, before McDermott had even collected his things, giving a clear signal that he had already been lined up for the job. Reading FC, Stam, and his agent remained silent in the weeks that followed as the deal was worked out and agreed ahead of today's announcement. No other names were seriously linked with the role despite the delay in his official appointment.

Jaap Stam arrives at Reading with no senior managerial experience, but plenty of experience as both a player as as assistant manager. As a player he was capped 67 times for the Netherlands, and played a huge part in Manchester United's most successful times after arriving for ten million pounds. Stam was also successful in his role as a big powerful defender for Lazio, AC Milan and Ajax before moving into coaching after retiring from playing. He was at Ajax last season as assistant manager before leaving at the end of the season to allow himself to take up his first full managers role in England.

Stam will certainly be a big change in direction for Reading Football Club as they try to end years of downward decline following relegation out of the Premier League. It is the kind of high profile appointment the new owners seem to crave - but the success of the new partnership will depend on many things. More than anything success will depend on how much time Stam is given if early results don't go his way, and if he will be allowed to make serious moves in the transfer market. He will inherit a depleted squad that is currently set to rely on young players moving up to the first team. Steve Clarke relied on loan signings last summer - something which failed to produce team spirit. McDermott wasn't given a chance to do anything. Stam appears to be a powerful personality that would look to bond a team together - so surely he will require permanent signings this summer.

It has been a turbulent time for the club over the past few years with such regular changes in management, and lack of league success. The management structure, and playing squad, is almost unrecognisable from only a few seasons ago. It seems unlikely that Stam can steady the boat immediately. He must be given time, and full support from the club and fans, whatever the early season results are. Hopefully he will be one of the first managers in a long time to actually see out his initial contract, regardless of how the league table looks.

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