Wokingham Today


- By TOM CROCKER tcrocker@wokinghamp­aper.co.uk

JAAP STAM has left Reading following a run of just one win in 18 league matches.

The Dutchman has been under increasing pressure during the wretched run, which began in November and culminated in a 3-2 defeat at Norwich City on Saturday.

That latest loss leaves the Royals 20th in the Championsh­ip, just three points above the relegation zone with only eight games to play.

It is a far cry from the success of Stam’s first season in charge. Joining Reading from his role in Ajax’s academy in June 2016, he guided the club to within a whisker of the Premier League last May, where they lost in a heartbreak­ing penalty shoot-out against Huddersfie­ld Town in the play-off final at Wembley.

Fast forward 10 months and the club’s owners Dai Yongge and Dai Xiu Li have decided now to act to try and stave off relegation to League One.

A club statement said that the Chinese pair, who bought the club in May 2017 and handed Stam a new contract last summer, “wanted to give Jaap every opportunit­y to turn around what has been a difficult and challengin­g Championsh­ip campaign”.

But that proved not to be the case and after discussion­s with Stam earlier this week, it was announced on Wednesday morning that the Dutchman would be moving on.

“Jaap has not wavered in the time, effort and sheer determinat­ion he has put in to try to steer the team away from the position we find ourselves in,” the statement continued.

“However, after careful considerat­ion, the decision has been made that a change is now necessary.

“We would like to thank Jaap for his hard work and commitment to the club, in particular noting what he achieved in a memorable first season in club management and we wish him the very best of luck in his future endeavours.

“We will now focus on

identifyin­g and recruiting the right person to take Reading Football Club forward.”

First team coaches

Andries Ulderink and Said Bakkati are expected to follow Stam out the door, although the club would not confirm that to be the case when contacted by The Wokingham Paper.

There is also no news on who will run the side in the interim until a new boss is appointed, although Reading have no game until March 30 due to the internatio­nal break.

But they will want a new manager in place by then to try and save the season with Queens Park Rangers coming to town in the first match of a tricky looking eightgame run-in.

At the time of going to press, former Swansea City and Derby County boss Paul Clement was the strong odds-on favourites with the bookmakers to succeed Stam. Clement, who worked with Reading chief executive Ron Gourlay during the duo’s time at Chelsea, was sacked in December with the Swans in the Premier League relegation zone, having guided them to safety after his arrival in January the previous season. He is available at 1/10 while next on the list are Mark Warburton and

Steve McClaren, both available at 12/1.

Other names mooted have been former Royals Phil Parkinson and Graeme Murty, both currently in work at

Bolton Wanderers and Rangers respective­ly, as well as ex-Ajax man Marcel Keizer and fired Birmingham City boss Steve Cotterill.

Royals players took to social media on Wednesday afternoon to offer their well wishes to the departing Stam, including Liam Moore, Callum Harriott and Liam Kelly while Garath McCleary simply said “we’re all accountabl­e”.

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