Reading: Odd couple can still be a perfect pairing


There is an odd couple at the helm at Reading.

It’s not Russian owner Anton Zingarevich and his rather delightful wife Katsia – a Victoria’s Secret supermodel who, purely for the sake of adding colour to this article, I’ll let you go and do a quick Google Images search for now.

You’re welcome.

Anyway, the odd couple isn’t Zingarevich – an heir to a multi-billion fortune – and his lovely lady wife, but rather the Reading owner and his manager Brian McDermott. One doesn’t seem to quite fit with the other.

When Zingarevich formally purchased Reading from Sir John Madejski last May, the usual fallout from a foreign takeover could have been expected by many, yet there haven’t been behind the scenes rows, pleas for more money or angry fans demanding investment. The manager has even stayed the same.

McDermott impressively led Reading to the Championship title last season, and yet whilst the owners of the previous title winners Queens Park Rangers have dismissed two managers since they returned to the top flight, the Royals boss is still standing. He’s above QPR in the table too.

Admittedly that is the only Premier League club that McDermott and Reading find themselves above at the moment, but after three wins from their last six Premier League home games and the brilliant comeback to beat West Bromwich Albion last weekend they have at least got a decent platform to build on.

Zingarevich has helped pay for some decent players too, but by and large McDermott has been allowed to approach the task of staying up with last year’s squad left intact.

In Pavel Pogrebnyak they have a forward who adds a dash of stardust to a group of players still largely drawn from the lower leagues – and a dash that certainly bears the influence and cash of Zingarevich – but arguably the most impressive striking performances for the Royals this season have come from the likes of Adam Le Fondre, Jason Roberts and Noel Hunt, all of whom were around when the club won promotion under their popular manager.

Signing the likes of Adrian Mariappa, Chris Gunter, Garath McCleary and Danny Guthrie might not have made the headlines in the same way that signings made by clubs in similar situations have, but all have fleshed out the squad and given it a fighting chance to stay in the top flight.

Admittedly there have been times when they have look out of their depth this season, but instead of that causing a mistrust of the ability of the manager or the capability of the owner instead it seems to have forged a closer bond within the club. The final eight minutes against West Brom last Saturday were amongst the most important of the season for anyone.

A match at a struggling Newcastle this weekend offers McDermott’s men the chance to both record a first away league victory of the season and to drag another team down towards the relegation mire with them, and you can be certain that Reading’s manager, owner and supporters will be desperate for a positive result – particularly as they are coming up against Alan Pardew, a man who once sat in the Madejski Stadium hotseat whilst McDermott worked in the background.

The same can be said of another high profile Premier League manager in the form of Liverpool’s Brendan Rodgers, and whilst McDermott will have one day called those men ‘boss’ he can now look them in the eye as a contemporary. That Zingarevich has allowed him to do so says a lot about the character of both.

It would have been easy for the Russian owner to dismiss with the manager and look to attract a big name boss – with Reading’s close proximity to London no doubt making it an attractive possibility – but he stuck to his guns and has given McDermott his shot at the top flight.

There is still an awful lot of work to do to ensure that such faith will be rewarded, but you get the sense that Zingarevich goes to bed at night knowing that he’s made the right choice.

And not just with who he married.


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Where do you think Reading will finish? Drop a comment below…

Posted on 17 Jan 2013, in Premier League and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Your own post, “Reading: Odd couple can still be a perfect
    pairing Fantasy Yirma: FPL” was very well worth commenting down here in the comment section!
    Simply just needed to mention you truly did a great job.
    Many thanks -Christine

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