BRIAN McDermott has left his post as manager of Reading, the club confirmed in a statement late yesterday afternoon.
The Royals have lost four successive Barclays Premier League games and sit 19th in the table, with only goals scored keeping them off the bottom.
McDermott, 51, took over as caretaker manager at the Madejski Stadium in 2009 before being named full-time boss the following year.
He guided Reading back to the top flight last season for only the second time in their history but has been relieved of his duties as the club look to turn around their form in time to secure Premier League survival.
McDermott has been part of the backroom staff at the Berkshire club since 2000, fulfilling a number of roles before taking the manager’s position full-time in January 2010.
Reading issued a statement confirming McDermott’s departure, with Russian owner Anton Zingarevich believing having a new man in charge was essential.
“Reading Football Club has announced today the departure of manager Brian McDermott,” the statement read. “Owner Anton Zingarevich wishes to place on record his thanks to Brian, who had achieved great success with the club since taking over as manager in December 2009. Brian gained promotion to the Barclays Premier League last year for only the second time in the club’s history. However, in our current situation, owner Anton Zingarevich felt that a change was necessary.”
Reading had been on a run of one defeat in seven games at the turn of the year but a spell of poor form has cost McDermott his job.
Home defeats to fellow strugglers Wigan and Aston Villa have no doubt hastened the decision to remove McDermott and the club have said they are searching for a replacement as soon as possible, with their next two games coming at Manchester United and Arsenal.
“The search for a successor will start immediately and it is hoped that a new manager will be in place as soon as possible to lead the fight against potential relegation,” the statement concluded.
The Royals had been battling in and around the bottom three for the majority of the season but, unlike the likes of bottom side QPR, who were able to invest heavily in the January transfer window, McDermott was limited in what he could spend.
He secured the signing of Daniel Carrico from Sporting Lisbon, although the Portuguese defender has only featured once for the Berkshire club. Stephen Kelly came in from Fulham whilst the other two signings, Hope Akpan and Nick Blackman, both joined from npower League One sides.
Last night Reading striker Jason Roberts paid tribute to McDermott. And Roberts, who expects to miss the rest of the season with a hip injury, believes the manager will make a quick return to the game.
He said: “He’s a football man and a good man and I just think we should take stock of what he has achieved and place on record our thanks. I as a player – and I’m sure the others – would like to place on record thanks for what he and his [backroom] team have achieved for us.”
Former Swindon boss Paolo Di Canio, Mark Hughes – ex-QPR manager – and former Charlton manager Alan Curbishley have all been linked with the role, as has Nigel Adkins, who was sacked by Southampton earlier this season. Roberts would not be drawn on who he would welcome to the Madejski Stadium, saying: “It’s not a decision we are party to.
“All we can do is concentrate on what we do on the pitch and on the training ground and do our best for Reading. I don’t think anyone would say anything different.
“What we need to do is make sure we leave Reading in a good position, I think Brian McDermott has done that and I think we owe it to the club and owe it to Brian as much as anyone – to the owners, the fans and to ourselves to do the best we can.
“What we need to do is work hard and try and keep Reading in the Premier League because that is the goal. I think even Brian McDermott would say the same thing. It’s frustrating not to be able to be out there on the pitch helping the boys but I know they are as committed as they can be.”