Reading Football Club are pleased to announce the return of two former promotion-winning first team coaching staff – Nigel Gibbs and Karl Halabi - who, having each played integral roles as part of successful spells at Madejski Stadium already, now join new manager Paul Clement’s coaching team.
Assistant Manager Nigel Gibbs first arrived with the Royals as a coach under Steve Coppell in 2006, having cut his teeth in coaching as assistant manager to Ray Lewington at Watford before completing his UEFA Pro Licence whilst with Tottenham Hotspur and then Swansea City.
The former Watford stalwart and England Under-21 international, who made his professional debut under the management of Graham Taylor back in 1983 and went on to make nearly 500 appearances for the Hornets, worked closely with Brian McDermott as reserve team manager at Reading before stepping up to first team affairs when McDermott took the reins in January 2010.
Gibbs’ partnership with Brian led to historic back-to-back FA Cup quarter-finals for the Royals and then a league campaign which took Reading to the very brink of promotion to the Premier League via a Championship play-off final showdown against Swansea City at Wembley in 2011.
The following season, Gibbs played an influential role in a title win for the club – helping McDermott and his squad finish the 2011-12 season with a flourish that saw the Royals lose just once and win 15 times in an astonishing 17-game spell that catapulted the club to the top of the table and saw us pip Southampton to the Championship title.
Nigel went on to follow McDermott to Elland Road and earned a 5-1 win over local rivals Huddersfield Town when placed in interim charge of Leeds United at the start of February 2014.
Since then, the former Vicarage Road skipper has taken coaching roles with Millwall and back at White Hart Lane as Assistant Head of Coach & Player Development. And he re-joined Swansea City at the start of 2017 – where the very well-respected coach sat alongside Clement in the Liberty Stadium dugout as his second in command in the Premier League.
Karl Halabi also re-joins the Royals ranks as Assistant Manager. Karl’s connection with the club began as a 10-year-old player at Reading, leaving Elm Park as an 18-year old in 1994 to pursue a coaching career. He went on to work as a fitness coach for Fulham, Chelsea and Watford before returning to his hometown club to take a Head of Sports Science role under Brendan Rodgers at the Madejski in the summer of 2009.
Like Gibbs, Karl went on to win promotion to the Premier League as part of McDermott’s coaching team at Reading and he worked under Clement for the first time at Pride Park. He left his post as Physical Development Coach within the Spurs Under-23s to link up with the Royals’ new boss once more, accepting an Assistant Coach and Head of Physical Performance position with Swansea City. Now he is a Royal once more.
We are thrilled to be able to welcome back both Gibbs and Halabi to Reading Football Club, where they will join Dave Beasant and Michael Gilkes and new manager Paul Clement in the home dugout when we host QPR on Friday evening.