More about our new man
From his days training with Robin Friday as a youth player at Reading, to working with current England boss Roy Hodgson at Fulham - he certainly has a big history in the game - so read on to find out more about our new man.
Welcome to the club Steve – what can you tell us about the role and what it’ll bring to the Royals?
I’ve been very fortunate. My roots lie in Reading. I was a young player here many years ago and I worked with some good people, one of which was Stuart Henderson – who left to join Southampton and took me with him. He gave me my start in coaching in 1992. I worked with their Academy and ended up as youth team coach and left after ten years there to join Fulham. I worked in Fulham’s Academy for the first few years and then went over to senior recruitment and became head of opposition scouting, over the last few years when the club enjoyed a lot of success – particularly in a major European campaign and several top ten finishes. It was a role that grew and I was happy to take it on. I’ve worked with some good managers, some great people, great players and had some real big moments.
“I joined Reading as an associate schoolboy in the 70s, played youth team football and then reserve team football. I played a handful of first-team games, mostly in the minor cup competitions. I was the captain of the reserve side in the Football Combination and played close to 400 games times. Bobby Williams who was the youth team coach is still at the club now, working in scouting. I had some really happy times back then at the old Elm Park playing on the pitch up the top, it was good times.
It does help. Brian knows the day-to-day running of a recruitment department better than anyone else. He’s got an absolute wealth of experience and contacts, knows the Reading way of doing things so it’s useful for me to tap into that knowledge. I’ve known him for many years, played against him – we did our coaching qualifications together. Our careers have been parallel – he was youth coach here while I was youth coach at Southampton. We used to be on the touchline together and we go back a long way.
You’ll have a lot of focus on European scouting – perhaps trying to emulate the success stories of people like Gylfi Sigurdsson and Jimmy Kebe?