Brian McDermott’s dismissal by Reading last month was one of the most reprehensible Premier League firings of the season. And the competition for that dubious honor is usually pretty fierce.
But the 52-year-old wasn’t out in the cold for long. Today, second-division Leeds United appointed McDermott on a three-year deal as the successor to Neil Warnock, who resigned on April 1 after a defeat by Derby County effectively ended the club’s hopes of a return to the Premier League this spring.
Leeds used to be one of the Premier League’s top clubs, regularly challenging near the top of the standings. But an epic financial collapse (private jets! Robbie Fowler! Goldfish!) prompted relegation in 2004.
McDermott’s first task is to keep them clear of the npower Championship drop zone. Leeds are five points above the bottom three clubs with five fixtures to play. They have lost their past four matches and tomorrow face Yorkshire rivals Sheffield Wednesday.
“Obviously the immediate aim is a return as soon as possible to the Premiership. Brian’s success in taking Reading to the Premiership last year was a key factor in our decision to hire him,” said Leeds director David Haigh in a statement.
One of the calmer and least ego-driven coaches around, McDermott doesn’t generate many headlines – but he clearly knows how to handle life in the Championship. He took charge of Reading during the 2009-10 season and led the club into the Premier League last year, tasked with keeping them in the division despite a mediocre, low-budget roster.
It sums up the volatility of soccer management that he was named Premier League manager of the month for January – and fired just 34 days later.