No hesitation over Reading FC return - HeadBy Lewis Rudd
October 15, 2012
Steve Head has said he had “no hesitation” in returning to the club that gave him his first chance in professional football.
Royals last week appointed the 49-year-old as its head of scouting and recruitment, a new role created by the club following promotion to the Premier League.
Head, who grew up in Woodley and attended both Earley St Peter’s and Bulmershe School, was first snapped up by Reading as a schoolboy and later went on to make a handful of first-team appearances in the Freight Rover Trophy - but never pulled on the famous blue and white hoops for a league fixture.
Despite his lack of first team opportunites, Head said he enjoyed every minute of his time at Elm Park, adding: “I had a fantastic time and thoroughly enjoyed my football.”
After leaving the club, Head went on to forge a career as a youth team coach at league rivals Southampton before making a switch to Craven Cottage, where he spent the last 10 years employed as an assistant scout at Fulham before Royals made their move.
And the latest recruit insists the decision to sign on at Madejski Stadium was an easy one to make, telling GetReading how he believes the club will be a “force in the future”.
Head said: “No, it wasn’t (a difficult decision). In terms of leaving Fulham I gave 10 years good service, having previously given 10 years good service, I would like to think, at Southampton.
“I have some fantastic memories with Fulham: the Europa League final in Germany, top 10 finishes and establishing the club in the Premier League.
“I would like to think I played my part in that.
“But when Nicky Hammond came and asked me if I was ready to move on there was no hesitation because this is a role I aspire to, the head of scouting and recruitment.
“Nicky and Brian (McDermott) are football friends of mine, so it was not a difficult decision to come here.
“Reading are going to be a force in the future and I think I have got a fantastic opportunity here.
“I would not have come here if I didn’t think the club did not have the ambition to go on and become leaders.”
Head has already been busy since making his return to Royals, having brought in Fulham colleague Ben Mackreill to work as a technical scout while adding a foreign scout in Portugal to the ranks as the club attempts to make the most of the markets both at home and abroad.
He also revealed how discussions have also taken place to discuss possible targets in the January transfer window, jokingly adding how his job will be made “a lot easier” if the team is performing well on the pitch.
“This is a new role created by Reading,” he said.
“They already have a fantastic network in place operated by chief scout Steve Shorey.
“But like all things in the Premier League, the new owners recognised the need to expand in different areas and not just in terms of playing personnel.
“We’re looking (at new players). Obviously I have come in with a lot of ideas, but the club has got a fantastic squad at the moment, they really have.
“It will be a tough job to try and improve, but we have to keep looking and have to be aware of what players might be available and if they are interested in signing.
“But the squad is very, very good.”
Head went on to explain how he first got to know Brian McDermott when the Royals boss was making his name in the game over at Arsenal in the late 1970’s.
They later reacquainted themselves while the pair worked in their respective roles as youth team managers before they ended up sharing a room together when working towards their FA Advanced Coaching Badges.
And according to Head, even back then it was plain to see the man who guided Reading to the Championship title last season would go on to forge a successful career as a manager.
He said: “I am not at all surprised he is now a manager.
“When working towards our coaching badges you could see he had this spirit and determination, and even when taking what essentially were a group of strangers in a mixed environment you could see the fantastic connection with them.
“He has a fantastic personality and commands a huge amount of respect.
“It says something when not one person within the game has a bad word to say about him.”