Recently it seems that every autumn there’s a change of Reading manager. Brian McDermott (first time) was the last to last three years and Nigel Adkins the last to make it to two Fans Forums. So, farewell Jose Gomes. We liked his optimism and his obvious love of the English game. A bunch of astute loan signings and a rare run of good home form saw us escape relegation with a game to spare last season.
We expected better this season with the weight of expensive incoming transfers and terrific performances against Cardiff and West Brom. But with a quarter of the season gone we’re back in the bottom three and there have been some horror-shows at home. We’ve been protected in the past two seasons by some really duff sides propping up the division but this time survival looks a tougher proposition and we don’t have a big argument with the decision that Jose had to go. We wish him well.
Gomes was a left-field continental appointment. Sometimes they work (Huddersfield, Wolves, Norwich) and more often they don’t. Sometimes the old school works (Warnock, Wilder, Hughton) and sometimes it just looks stale. The Championship is incredibly competitive and very interesting because there is no one formula for success.
Mark Bowen is the new man, coming across / down from Sporting Director, and credited by the club with some of the improvement that saved us last season. His title is manager (Gomes was head coach) and he will have to man-manage as we believe we’ve got good players here and for various reasons, there won’t be much money or loan opportunities to play with in January. Whilst he’s had nearly two decades continuous experience coaching at high levels he’s not been a manager before. Thus STAR appreciates that some fans aren’t enthused by the appointment given the well-known names bandied about on social media. A first time manager can work –like Pardew and McDermott – or flop as Bullivant did. Bowen probably has more coaching experience than those three had put together and sorting out the way the team is set up and plays seems to us the top priority. He’s certainly got more Championship experience than his predecessor.
Ultimately it’s the team we support and backing the team is all we can do to help. Again, we wish the new man well – and hope he makes it to 3+ appearances at the Fans Forum.