The new boss gives his views on a number of subjects…
Brian McDermott addressed the media on his return to Madejski Stadium.
He fielded questions on a number of subjects: his relationship with Reading, his time away from the club, the decision to come back – and many more. Here are his views on the main topics…
McDermott on his return to management
I’ve had a few offers to come back, but they weren’t right for me. This just felt right. I was working at Arsenal, and they have been first class in the way that they have dealt with the situation. There aren’t many places that I would come back to, but this is a place that I spent 13 years of my working life at. I’m humbled to be coming back and very, very grateful.
Every day is a challenge in the Championship. You see the games and how tight they are – I’m really looking forward to coming back, being amongst it and all of us working together.
McDermott on coming back to Reading
I had been at Reading an awful long time, and I had worked my way up through the ranks and eventually got the first-team job. Together, as a staff and players, we managed to get promoted so it was a fantastic time.
We had a fantastic time previous to that with Steve Coppell – the managers that we have had here have been fabulous and I’m really pleased to come back. If it didn’t feel right for me, and if the club didn’t feel it was the right thing to do, it wouldn’t have happened. There has been fantastic cooperation on both sides.
My gut feel was really important in coming back. It just feels right for me and I hope it is right for the club; I want to do everything I can to make sure that as a group, all of us are successful. If you look at the football club now with the Academy and the young players coming through again – I was lucky enough to have dinner with Eamonn Dolan the other night and he has done an amazing job with the Academy, a fantastic job. I had a good chat about all the young players coming through and the future is bright.
McDermott on the premise of ‘never go back’
I rang Eddie Howe about that [smiling]! Look what happened with Eddie last year – they won the league. You don’t come back anywhere for sentimental reasons. This is professional, and it feels the right thing to do. I’m just looking forward to getting on with it.
McDermott on his ambitions for the future
This league is all about momentum. If you can get a result on a Saturday, you can get it on a Tuesday – it’s all about trying to win the next game and that’s what we’re aiming to do. Last night [against Hull] we maybe should have been two-nil up – we had a few injuries and it’s gone against us. But that was then, and this is another game coming on Sunday.
I don’t look three years in front – I don’t look three minutes in front! I look at this minute – I’m not looking in front and I don’t look back at what has happened. That’s part of history, and a good part of history. This club has had so much success in a 13 or 14 year period – even last season, when the league position wasn’t what we wanted, we still got to the semi-final of the FA Cup and could have got to the final. A lot of clubs would dream of that sort of success.
The year that we went up, we had just been beaten in a play-off final. When you lose a play-off final once, you think ‘that’s tough to take’. And it was tough to take – and six games into the next season, we were second-bottom of the league and had we lost to Doncaster, we would have gone bottom. We just got on a run of games where we kept winning and winning and got momentum.
McDermott on the next match
Last night at one o’clock in the morning, I was thinking about picking a team for Blackburn. The best situation for that Blackburn game – and that’s the only thing I’m thinking about – is to get into training, meet the guys, meet the staff, and concentrate on what we have to do against Blackburn. Nothing else matters as far as I’m concerned. You focus on one day at a time; you focus on one game at a time. I’ve always had that philosophy and that won’t change.
McDermott on the owners of Reading FC
I’m very confident that we’ve got a group of people that are very supportive and that want the team to do very well. I’m very confident that the players are really keen to get going now and start the process of trying to get us up the league and as close to the top of that league as we possibly can. I’ve always been confident and I’m confident in Reading Football Club.
It wasn’t a tough decision – it just had to feel right. It was really important that I spoke to the owners as well because if I felt that it wasn’t right for them, it wouldn’t have been right for me. It was definitely a two-way thing. It is really important that we have a family environment here. I want that family environment here and I want all of us to work together. The owners, myself, the Chairman, the Chief Executive, the Director of Football – we all need to be together, it’s not all about me. It’s all of us trying to win a game of football; that’s the combination. We want to win in style, but most important is trying to win the game.
It was important that I felt there was a structure in place that could really carry the team and the club forward. I feel there is that structure and there is a lot of goodwill and the owners really want the club to be successful, which means that the town is successful. That’s what we all want. It was really important that the owners had the opportunity to ask me questions, and that I had the opportunity to ask questions. We needed to see that we were on the same page, and we felt that we were.
McDermott on the backroom staff
There is a backroom team in place at the moment and I’m going to meet them today. There will be one person that I will be bringing in – that will be Terry Burton, as my number-two. He used to manage Wimbledon and he has a fantastic CV as far as football is concerned. He is a terrific coach and he worked at Arsenal – he actually coached me when I was a young boy, and he looks younger that I do believe it or not!
McDermott on the current crop of players
There are a number of players here that I know and a number that I don’t – and we’ve all got to do the best we possibly can, every day. That’s what we’ll be doing. We’ll leave no stone unturned and we’ll do whatever we have to do to win games. We’ve got some talented, talented players out there. I’m looking forward to meeting them and working with them.
I can’t compare the squads [to the 2011/12 team] – that squad and that team won the league, so that was a successful squad of players. What we’ve got to try and do now with this squad of players is try to do the best we can together and see where we can end up. Without doubt we have talent in our squad, and you saw last night [against Hull] that there is a lot of guts in that squad too. I’m really looking forward to meeting everybody and getting cracking.
McDermott on leaving the club in 2013
That was then – this is now. Life goes on, it’s part of life and part of football. What happened, happened – and we will never change that. But at no point was I ever bitter about it – I’ve always had a great fondness for this football club and that was important to me.
We are where are now, and we have to try to get ourselves as high up this league as we can in the next few months. That’s all we’re going to concentrate on now, and what’s gone is gone.
McDermott on his time away from Reading
I’m more experienced – whether I’m better or not, the results will show. I know a lot more than I did; I had good experiences at Leeds and good experiences at Arsenal. I had experiences that I learnt from at Leeds, and experiences that I learnt from at Reading. I suppose with that experience comes wisdom – we shall see.
McDermott on the Reading fans
I hope that the majority of fans are happy that I have come back. You can never please everybody, but I hope that the majority are happy – that’s important to me. You always have to try to win people over, but the way you do that is by winning football matches. It’s very simple – you have to win games.
McDermott on football management
You’ve got to love what you’re doing. If you don’t love what you’re doing – especially with this job – you shouldn’t be in it. If you don’t love being a football manager, and you don’t love being part of the dressing room and trying to bring a team forward, don’t do it. It’s a big mistake, because you can’t be successful. You have to love it. And I love it. I love doing it, and I love being part of a team.