Royals captain Jobi McAnuff wanted to pass on a personal message following the departure of Brian McDermott and Nigel Gibbs earlier this week, and as we prepare for the final nine games of this season.
On behalf of myself and all of the players I would like to express our massive gratitude to Brian and Gibbo.
Starting with Brian, I must say a massive thank you to him for what he has done, not only for myself in making me captain and the faith he showed in me, but the rest of the squad and everyone associated with Reading FC, it's been a great period and he has been fundamental in that success. I don't think anyone can argue that he has left Reading in a far healthier position than when he came first came in with the club at the wrong end of the Championship. In his own calm, measured and respectful way he managed to take us to where we are today and for that everybody at the club will be eternally grateful and as players we certainly owe him a huge debt. He is a top manager but above all else he is a truly good man. It goes without saying we wish him all the very best in his next challenge, which I’m sure will be soon. He and I spoke on the phone on Monday, obviously it was a difficult conversation but he handled himself with great dignity. He wished us all the best for the season, which is a mark of the man. He didn't talk about himself or what had happened, he just had the players' and the club's best interests at heart.
I've also known Gibbo for many years and he is both a great professional and a real top football man. He has also been key in our success, his contribution cannot be underestimated and the players have huge respect for him on and off the training pitch and as a man of integrity. And although Yannis had only been here for a short period of time we all wish him nothing but good luck in the future.
As players we all feel responsible for the decision that has been made as it's our performances out there on the pitch that dictate results, in that respect we understand the results - particularly of late - haven't been good enough and that's something we are trying our hardest to address. Now we've got nine games to go to turn things around for the players, staff and supporters.
The whole squad met as one on Tuesday morning and Anton should be given credit for standing up in front of us and talking us through his decision at the earliest opportunity. It was clear to see it was a very tough decision for him to have to make, but one he feels is best for the club in our fight against relegation, as players we fully respect his decision and will now concentrate on the remainder of the season and try to maintain our Premier League status.
Eamonn and I also spoke at length and I would like to wish him the best of luck and emphasise that he has the full support of the players as we concentrate on Saturday’s game. He is very well known by the boys and has obviously worked wonders in our Academy with so many players coming through to do well, not just here but at lots of other clubs as well. All of the young lads speak very highly of him and preparing for Manchester United will not faze him in any way shape or form. He has been an integral part of the club’s success over the past number of years and we will all pull together for him. One thing we pride ourselves on here at Reading is unity and Eamonn will no doubt focus on that moving forward together.
We have nine games to go and with our supporters alongside us we will give it a real shot, starting on Saturday.