Remembering our former managerWe are deeply saddened to hear that former Reading manager Jack Mansell passed away on Saturday evening at the age of 88.
Mansell took to the manager’s office at Elm Park April 1969, and spent two and a half years as manager of the club. His influence was clear from the get-go – he inspired a brand of football that was fearlessly attacking and which prized passing play fit for any football purist.
In the 1969/70 season, his first full campaign as boss of the Biscuitmen, Reading found the net on 87 occasions in the Football League – scoring more goals that season than any of the other 91 clubs across the four divisions. In turn, that meant that Reading qualified for the Watney Cup – and consequently welcomed a Manchester United side which featured Denis Law, Bobby Charlton and George Best amongst their number to Elm Park. A crowd of over 18,000 witnessed a lively encounter in which the Mancunians took a narrow 3-2 win against a Reading team managed by Salford-born Mansell.
A couple of years ago, we spoke with Bobby Williams – formerly an inside-left for Reading – about that match and his time playing under the stewardship of Mansell; you can watch the video below.
One of Jack’s first actions as manager of Reading was to reintroduce the blue and white hoops on our kit. The Royals had worn hooped shirts almost exclusively since their introduction in 1938, until the decision was taken to sport a sky blue number from 1965 onwards. But Jack, recognising the importance of the club’s heritage, ensured that his team would play in the blue and white hoops.
You may remember that we paid tribute to Jack during our 2014/15 kit launch and our #ThanksJack campaign, after taking inspiration from his passion for our club’s history.
During his playing career, Mansell represented Brighton, Cardiff and Portsmouth as a full-back. His transition to the sidelines began shortly after hanging up his boots as he took a coaching role at Sheffield Wednesday; later, as well as leading the teams at Reading and Rotherham United in England, his managerial career took him all over the world – he spent stints managing in the Netherlands, USA, Turkey, Bahrain and Israel.
Our thoughts are with Jack’s family and friends.