Reading appoint Paul Ince as manager on a permanent basis
 Reading manager Paul Ince (L) stands on the touch line during the Sky Bet Championship match between Reading and Swansea City at the Select Car Leasing Stadium on April 18, 2022 in Reading, England. (Photo by Athena Pictures/Getty Images)

Reading have confirmed the appointment of manager Paul Ince on a deal until 2023.

In February, the former England international joined Reading as interim manager, replacing Veljko Paunovic after his 18 months in charge. He was tasked with keeping Reading in the Championship and achieved it with three games to spare.

Alex Rae, Ince's assistant at Reading, has also signed a deal until 2023.

Was Ince the right choice?

Ince did help Reading avoid relegation in the end last season, however Reading still ended the season being one of the worst three teams in the division. They would have been relegated if not for Derby County's 21-point deduction.

In his 14 games in charge, Ince only won four of them, picking up 15 points from a possible 42. So on the pitch, despite being enough in the end, there was no real improvement. Off the pitch however, was where things changed.

Ince brought fight to the squad, something that Royals fans have not seen for some time. Easter weekend sticks out for the fans, with the fight and desire of the players shining through. On Good Friday, Reading were leading 0-1 away at play-off chasing Sheffield United before they equalised in the 90th minute.

The Reading team of old would usually have collapsed, and settled for a point. But this team didn't give up and academy graduate and Reading fan Tom McIntyre went right down the other end and poked in to give Reading a massive 1-2 away win. It was Sheffield United's first loss at home for seven-and-a-half months.

Reading then came from three goals down in the second half on Easter Monday, as they drew 4-4 at home to Swansea City. The Royals came from 1-4 down, and McIntyre yet again popped up with a last-minute goal, scoring a 95th-minute equaliser. That weekend unified the fans with the players and the management and ultimately proved pivotal in the club staying up, as that draw against Swansea essentially confirmed Reading's safety.

A big summer ahead

Paul Ince will have a massive job ahead of him this summer, with recruitment being key. Reading currently only have seven players under contract for the 22/23 season, with 14 players' contracts expiring this summer. The players potentially leaving on a free include the likes of the club's top scorer and assister John Swift, Player of the Season Andy Yiadom, and energetic midfielders Josh Laurent and Andy Rinomhota. Yiadom is rumoured to be close to signing a new deal, whilst the other three have interest from England and Europe.

Ince is going to have a big job in hopefully getting some players signed to new contracts, along with signing a number of players.

Bowen appointed as Head of Football Operations

Someone helping Ince's recruitment this summer will be former Royals manager Mark Bowen, who has returned to the club as Head of Football Operations. 

Bowen left the club in August 2020 following the appointment of Paunovic as manager. Reading wanted Bowen to then take a job similar to what he has now, but he rejected the offer.

Bowen was out of a job until the end of March, before he became manager at AFC Wimbledon on a deal until the end of the season. Despite his best efforts, he failed to avoid relegation, as they were relegated to League Two.

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