Brian McDermott is a man of honour whose service to Reading will not be forgotten, says Royals FanZone blogger Stephen Dempsey.
It would be so very easy to turn this article into an angry rant against the management of our football club - to point out the lack of any significant investment that left Brian McDermott in the lurch, or the bizarre way in which Brian's tenure was brought to an end on Monday.
But what's done is done and, leaving aside the question of whether dismissing Brian was the right thing for Reading, we should all take the time to congratulate him and remember the miracles he performed during his time with us.
Let's start with the obvious stuff - two FA Cup quarter-finals, one Championship play-off final and a Championship title the year after. There are managers in this game that will never enjoy as much success as Brian has in the first three years of his managerial career, and the fact that he accomplished this success on a paltry budget whilst the club pawned off his best players makes this even more remarkable.
More importantly perhaps, from a fan's view, Brian's tenure has treated us to some breathtaking games that will linger long in the memory. That dramatic FA Cup night in January 2010 against Liverpool at Anfield, where Brian gave Reading a belief and sense of pride that was sorely missed under Brendan Rodgers, was the start of a magical few years.
Who can forget our daring charges up the Championship table, our repeated humiliations of West Ham or, even amongst the misery of this season, that miraculous turnaround against West Brom? Our style may not have been to everyone's taste, but Brian had us playing honest football built on foundations of determination, team work and a refusal to surrender. I don't think we could have asked for any more from our manager, given the resources at his disposal.
The most important thing, in my opinion, about McDermott was the way he approached the job. That fateful play-off final against Swansea at Wembley in May 2011 is one I'll never forget and it was obviously the same for Brian. Many managers claim to feel the same heartache as supporters, but rarely do so convincingly; Brian was one who genuinely did and that's something very important for those of us in the stands.
Whatever the circumstances, he always tried to give the fans the excitement and success we crave. Where many managers would have settled for a point come the 85th minute away from home, Brian would rouse Reading for a final attack, desperate to bag the three points that the fans want. He should remain in Reading fans' hearts because of his passion for our club, regardless of his achievements. Never looking too far ahead or giving up when things looked bleak, he took this club out of a post-Steve Coppell limbo and moulded a team capable of being more than Championship also-rans.
We can't ignore the fact that the last few months haven't gone according to plan but, in all honesty, what was Brian supposed to do? His reward for overachieving last season was to tackle the top-flight with the same rag-tag band he performed wonders with before - a task that would probably be beyond any manager. Brian was a victim of his own success, and the magnitude of that success makes his dismissal all the more poignant.
The man who once worked in the shadows of Reading now stands as one of the modern icons of our club. He rescued us from disaster and pushed the club to achieve the potential it had hidden under clouds of cost-cutting and miserliness. He has always been a loyal servant of this club and has instilled a work ethic and atmosphere that we should all be proud of. The next club to hire McDermott will have acquired the rarest of things - a man of honour with the ability to match.
Thank you for everything Brian and I hope you achieve all the success you deserve. You will never be forgotten by the fans of this club and we will always remember your time here with pride and affection.
By Stephen Dempsey, FanZone's Reading blogger.