JAAP STAM has vowed to do everything he can to bring the good times back to Reading Football Club.
The 43-year-old was unveiled earlier on Monday as successor to the sacked Brian McDermott and has signed a two-year contract at Madejski Stadium, which comes with a possible extension.
Stam arrives in Berkshire following a trophy-laden career as a player, with the no-nonsense and tough tacking defender winning trophies across Europe with PSV Eindhoven, Manchester United and Lazio, which included lifting the Champions League crown with the Red Devils back in 1999.
Yet while becoming the first manager from overseas to take on the Royals’ hot seat, the former Netherlands international is also something of an unknown quality when it comes to being the boss, with this, spare an interim spell as PEC Zwolle back in 2009, being his first jaunt as head honcho.
But Stam is now keen to sample yet more success from the dugout and wants to do this with Reading.
“As everybody knew, I played on a high level of football and when I started my career as a player I started in a smaller team, and my success was wanting to play at the absolute top in Europe,” he said.
“When you become a manger you have to start thinking as a starting manager and you have to go to a club that wants you and has the same ideas as you have as well, and that is what Reading has.
“They are very ambitious, like I am, and they want to go back to the Premier League and eventually I want to do that as well, and together I hope we can have a very good partnership and get there.”
Despite the instant success demanded by owners and chairman these days, Stam refused to put a time frame on how long it could take to get Reading back in the top flight.
Reading have finished a disappointing 16th and 19th in the past two seasons, so some may feel they are some way off competing in the upper echelons of the Championship at the moment.
The new manager, though, has vowed to give everything to the cause, saying honestly: “I can’t guarantee them success.
“I can’t tell them to sit here and tell them all we are going to be fifth in the league.
“The message for them is everybody over here is very confident in what we want to achieve for next season and everybody is working very hard to build a team and make a team that is going to have success eventually and I know that, for the fans, is frustrating for a team that is not up to the standards they want them to be.
“But they have to believe that we are doing everything in our power that we can to get success.”
Stam will be assisted by familiar faces from his time at Ajax, where he was a coach before leaving at the end of last season in order to pursue a career in management.
Andries Ulderink and Said Bakkati will both flank the Dutchman on the sidelines, as will Steven Reid and Dave Beasant, who keep their positions as first-team coaches.
Stam had long been tipped to fill the vacancy left by McDermott, whose second stint in charge was ended in May when he was axed.
This was after being appointed to replace Steve Clarke just six months ago.
It had been reported in some circles club officials had been talking with Stam while Brian was still at the club, but chief executive Nigel Howe denied this was the case.
He also explained how Stam’s credentials stood out among a list of 14-15 candidates sought out by a football committee which included shareholder Sumrith ‘Tiger’ Thanakarnjanasuth.
“We are all extremely excited to have Jaap Stam as the new manager of Reading,” he said.
“I have spoken to Jaap abut 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.
“From this moment onwards we will sit down together and help put his plans into action to build a strong squad capable of rising to the challenge of the Championship in 2016-17.
“He has achieved the very highest honours as a player and has already won a title in his coaching career (with PEC Zwolle), so now he can begin what we believe will be a very successful journey in management at Madejski Stadium.”