Jaap Stam is sacked by Reading F.C.
Reading F.C. is a well-respected club in England but has recently been failing to achieve its targets for the season. Due to poor form and hovering above relegation, the board have sacked the manager, Jaap Stam.
Many Royals fans will have felt this decision is long overdue as they are just three points above the drop with eight games left this season. Their last win came at the end of January in a 3-1 victory away to Burton Albion. Since then they haven't won in nine games, picking up only four points. The Berkshire-based side finished third last season and even made it to the playoff finals. They lost to Huddersfield Town at Wembley and just 10 months later they are staring relegation in the face.
Jaap Stam had been appointed the manager in 2016 and had been given respect for his third-placed finish last year. But this season the stabilizers look to have fallen off. Stam had brought in a number of players to improve the depth of the squad but the quality hasn't been there lately. Players such as Vito Mannone, Jon Dadi Bodvarsson, Leandro Bacuna, Modou Barrow, David Edwards and Sone Aluko. These are notable names that have performed well over the past few campaigns with other clubs within the Championship and Premier League.
It probably doesn't help that the club is plagued with injuries at the moment. They have eight players sidelined. Defenders include Axel Andressen, Tommy Elphick, Paul McShane and Omar Richards. Midfielders also missing out are Jon Dadi Bodvarsson and Jordan Obita. Strikers include Chris Matins and Garath McCleary. Although that is an aspect that could be an indicative reason as to why Reading might have been underperforming it can't take away the fact that a club like Reading should be more than capable of having great depth within their squad.
The former Netherlands international and ex-Manchester United defender hadn't tested his managerial skills before arriving at Reading in 2016. He was an assistant manager in Holland with teams such as FC Zwolle and Ajax. Some may have thought his debut season with Reading was down to the squad he had already accumulated since his arrival but fast forward a season and you can see the downfall under his reign. Many factors will be taken into account but the manager is always the first victim to blame in a situation that Reading has found themselves in. Royals fans will feel that Stam's sacking is well overdue and his replacement is yet to be found. It is likely that one of the backroom staff will take charge for the time being until a new man is found.
Could this scenario be a plausible case that being a manager isn't for every ex-professional footballer? Who knows if Stam will want to manage another club but right now Reading are desperately seeking a way to survive a relegation threat still. They have QPR next who are 15th and an out-of-form Aston Villa side in fourth place. One positive for the Royals right now is their goal difference. The teams lower than them haven't scored as many.
The questions at the club now are who will be the next man? Will there be a caretaker-manager to see out the season or do owners, Dai Yongge and Dai Xiuli have their eyes set on a sure target? All we know is that Reading are in trouble right now and without a manager, there could be a knock-on effect. Here's hoping a club like them doesn't fall below that dreaded red line.