London (AFP) – Championship club Reading gave former Manchester United and Netherlands great Jaap Stam his first job as senior team coach on Monday.
The 43-year-old — a Champions League winner with United in 1999 — signed a two year contract with Reading, who fired predecessor Brian McDermott last month after the ‘Royals’ flirted with relegation and finished 17th in the second tier.
“We are all extremely excited to have Jaap Stam as the new manager of Reading,” a statement attributed to club shareholder Tiger on the club’s official website said.
“Lady Sasima (Srivikorn, co-chairwoman), Narin (Niruttinanon, shareholder) and I have spoken to Jaap about his hopes and ambitions for Reading and it is clear to see he is a man with a real passion for football and a lot of energy and enthusiasm ready to put into his new role as a Royal.”
Stam — who was also a member of the AC Milan side that let a 3-0 lead slip and ended up losing on penalties to Liverpool in the 2005 Champions League final — had cut his teeth on the coaching ladder with the Ajax reserve side for the past two years.
His playing career was not without controversy as the 67-times capped player was suspended for four months after testing positive for the banned substance nandrolone — he denied taking it.
Reading chief executive Nigel Howe said Stam had stood out among the many candidates who had expressed an interest in the job.
“We are thrilled that we have managed to secure the signature of a manager with such an abundance of experience,” said Howe.
“His record as both a player and coach, at the very highest level in England, Italy and Holland as well as internationally, speaks for itself.”
Stam is the latest high-profile football personality to take on a Championship club.
Rafael Benitez, who was manager of Liverpool in the 2005 Champions League final, has remained at relegated Newcastle, and Roberto di Matteo — who guided Chelsea to the 2012 Champions League trophy — has taken over another relegated club, Aston Villa.
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