Football: Reading part ways with manager Jaap Stam

Reading manager Jaap Stam in The Madejski Stadium on May 16, 2017.
Reading manager Jaap Stam in The Madejski Stadium on May 16, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (AFP) - English Championship football side Reading on Wednesday (March 21) announced the departure of manager Jaap Stam, with the Chinese-owned club hovering dangerously close to the relegation zone.

The former Manchester United and Netherlands defender led the Royals to the play-off final in his first season in charge. But they have struggled this season and are 20th in the table with 36 points, just three clear of the drop zone.

Reading, who were relegated from the Premier League in 2013, earned just one win in their past 18 league matches and have eight matches to save themselves.

"Majority shareholders, Mr Yongge Dai and Ms Xiu Li Dai, had wanted to give Jaap every opportunity to turn around what has been a difficult and challenging Championship campaign," said a statement published on Reading's official website.

"Jaap has not wavered in the time, effort and sheer determination he has put in to try to steer the team away from the position we find ourselves in. However, after careful consideration, the decision has been made that a change is now necessary.

"We would like to thank Jaap for his hard work and commitment to the club, in particular noting what he achieved in a memorable first season in club management, and we wish him the very best of luck in his future endeavours."