Reading Football Club appointed Jaap Stam as first-team manager in June 2016.
In doing so, the Kampen-born former PSV Eindhoven, Manchester United, Lazio and AC Milan centre-back became the Royals first boss from overseas in the club’s history.
He brought with him a wealth of playing and coaching experience. His first title as a centre-half came in his native Holland, winning the Dutch Cup and then the Eredivisie title with PSV in successive years.
In 1998, he became the most expensive Dutch player and the most valuable defender in history at the time by agreeing to a £10.6million move to Manchester United.
During three full seasons at Old Trafford, Stam won three consecutive Premier League titles, one FA Cup and played a full part in a memorable UEFA Champions League victory over Bayern Munich to complete the treble in 1998/99… his first campaign at United.
United only lost a total of 17 of the 127 games in which Stam featured, across all competitions, during his stay in Manchester.
He added the Coppa Italia to his CV at Lazio and reached a second Champions League Final with Milan in 2005 before returning to Holland to end his playing career at Ajax.
An experienced Dutch international, Stam was capped 67 times by the Netherlands – taking part in three UEFA European Championships and the 1998 FIFA World Cup, reaching three semi-finals in major international tournaments during his career with Holland.
Since hanging up his boots in 2007, the former Dutch Defender of the Year initially took up a scouting role at United and then began his coaching career with PEC Zwolle, winning the Eerste Divisie with the same club he started his playing days with.
That summer, Stam signed a three-year contract with Ajax to become an assistant coach and in his first season back at the Amsterdam ArenA he helped his old club take the top tier title.
During his playing career, Stam has played under some of the greatest managers in the sport – Sir Alex Ferguson, Dick Advocaat, Roberto Mancini, Guus Hiddink, Carlo Ancelotti, Louis van Gaal – and he has since worked alongside Frank de Boer as a coach at Ajax.
His first season as a manager in his own right exceeded all of our expectations. Despite the heartbreaking end at Wembley, few predicted the Royals to make it that far; a third-place finish and a trip to the play-off final in 2016/17 was the seventh best season that Royals fans have ever seen.