Royals’ revolt may see a new King in charge

On Tuesday night, Brian McDermott looked a broken man.

Royals’ revolt may see a new King in charge

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December 13th, 2012

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A shameful 3-0 defeat away to Sunderland consigned Reading to their 5th straight League defeat and relegation looks a nailed-on prospect, even in the month of December. The tactics were wrong; the squad was hopelessly weak (with an Academy player and a 37-year-old midfielder on the bench) and the belief was shattered. Simply put, Reading didn’t look like a team that believed they deserved to be in this League. With their only victory a surprising victory over Everton, and two difficult games against Arsenal and Man City up next, it’s looking harder to see where the next point will come from.

The more worrying thing is the loss of the dressing room. Sources had told me that Danny Guthrie told Brian McDermott exactly what he thought of his selection policy earlier in the season – that resulted in a four-week mystery injury for the midfielder as he left cryptic Tweets. Of course, McDermott denied such a rift last time, but this time he was happy to out the details on local radio. Guthrie again didn’t agree with McDermott’s decision to only put him on the bench and so he refused to travel with the squad; quite despicable behaviour from a professional footballer. But he is frustrated to see himself behind two decidedly average midfielders in Mikele Leigertwood and Jay Tabb, both of whom simply do not have the quality for the top flight. But to show his frustrations in the way he has is simply inexcusable.

Also concerning is the rumour that Jason Roberts was dropped for having his say with McDermott. Roberts, the integral part of our rise to the top last season, was seen jogging down the tunnel at the Stadium of Light last night with no semblance of an injury. A very good source indicated he had a go at McDermott’s substitution policy on Saturday and was dropped for tonight as a result. Whilst it’s all well and good disciplining players for speaking out of turn at the manager, dropping them entirely from the squad is simply cutting off your nose to spite your face. This is a results business, and there’s little doubt that Roberts is a better player than 19-year-old Dominic Samuel; a kid with no League experience. Same with Guthrie – his omission meant Brynjar Gunnarsson, who hasn’t played for the Royals since looking a spent force against Birmingham last year, was named on the bench.

The powers that be have come out in support of McDermott, saying there’s no better man for the job. And they’d be right – none of the free managers out there would want to board this sinking ship, with the squad as weak and broken as it is. But McDermott looks as broken as them – his disappointment that his one shot at the big time has gone off for a throw-in. The squad isn’t good enough – but he built the squad. The players look disheartened – but he manages and motivates them. It’s harsh to replace McDermott, as he worked miracles in getting Reading to the top flight. But to see our shot at fame and glory drop from the skies like Felix Baumgartner is the most depressing thing for Royals fans. Whether enough players join the dissenters to force a revolution is something only time can reveal.

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