The difficult managerial dismissal at Reading can be justified, but only if it’s accompanied by a plan

Managers in football can seemingly be given the heave-ho at anytime by ambitious chairmen, even if they’ve exceeded expectation only the season before.

Brian McDermott is the latest top flight manger to be given his P45 and ultimately realise the futility of his efforts. Having guided Reading to the Premier League last season as champions, he’s left them with a chance of maintaining their top flight status thanks to the strong team spirit he fostered, but he was still given the boot.

Similar to the experience suffered by Nigel Adkins when he was dismissed in January by Southampton, sackings of managers whose achievements fail to match the ambition of the chairman are common and popular in English football predictions.

However, despite the seemingly cruel decision by Saints chairman Nicola Cortese to sack Adkins, after losing only twice in 12 successive league games prior to his departure, Southampton swiftly moved for Mauricio Pochettino to immediately fill the void, allowing them to resume their task of remaining in the financially valuable top flight, which a present they stand a fair chance of doing.

Reading have not done this though, and the club’s academy coach Eammon Dolan is to take charge for the game against United on Saturday, leaving the players in the hands of an interim manager and without any definitive direction for the crucial nine remaining games of the season.

Owner Anton Zingarevich described it as the “hardest decision of his life” on Wednesday, but having identified the perceived problem with Reading’s misfortune this season, he and the cub’s board have seemingly struggled to find a swift solution to their problems, marooning the club in a period of unnecessary transition during such a crucial time of the season.

If this decision was taken two months ago in January then time would be a greater friend to the club than it is now. Given the opportunity to spend some of Zingarevich’s millions, a new manager would have had time to impose his authority on his side.

The horse has now bolted though and Reading face the task of avoiding relegation without a leader. The men upstairs now need to convince someone to take on the herculean task, before the situation descends into a Wolves style farce of interim mangers, rash appointments and equally rash dismissals.

If Zingarevich took Southampton as a model on which to base his decision then he simply acted too late and with forethought for who he would appoint as his replacement.

And while the apparent cause of the problems at Southampton and Reading was the managers – according to their respective owners – Zingarevich’s ill-timed decision could prove to be the least constructive dismissal in recent seasons and condemn his club to the drop.

Unless the decision was made in a tempestuous fit of impatience, then it is nothing less then a careless and cavalier compulsion.

Tags: Brian McDermott, Premier League, Reading, Southampton

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