Russian backing for McDermott
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Royal union: Brian McDermott, left, with Reading FC's new Russian owner, Anton Zingarevich.
NEW Reading FC owner Anton Zingarevich believes Brian McDermott has all the skills to become a Premier League winner.
The 30-year-old Russian and McDermott have been getting on like a house on fire since they met back in January.
That meeting came when McDermott flew to Milan to seek assurances from Zingarevich about the club's future.
The mega-rich son of billionaire paper merchant Boris was in the process of launching his takeover, a move finally rubber stamped by the Premier League two weeks ago.
Zingarevich paid £25 million for a majority stake in the Royals through his Gibraltar-based Thames Sports Investment company and is expected to be sole owner within a year.
It proved to be a shrew investment as McDermott went on to lead Royals to the Championship title with promotion worth an estimated £90 million.
Now the 51-year-old is preparing to test his abilities in the top-flight for the first time as a manager, having been chief scout during Reading's previous two-year stint between 2006-08.
And Zingarevich has total faith in McDermott to succeed.
"I would say Brian and I have a very good relationship, we get on very well," revealed Zingarevich. "We've been pushing each other since January and I think we've settled in nicely. I understand what he wants and he knows what I want.
"Brian pays attention to every single detail. It's all about ensuring the atmosphere is right for the group of players. When you do that they want to play for you.
"That's been key to his success really. Everyone in that dressing room wants to play for him and one another.
"There is a great spirit here and Brian has played a major role in that. That is going to be so important for us next season."
While Reading are targeting a number of summer signings, Zingarevich insists McDermott could prove to be his best-ever investment.
The future of Royals' boss was thrown into doubt at the start of the year following an official approach from Wolves to become their new manager.
That prompted the meeting in Milan when Zingarevich and McDermott talked football well into the early hours.
McDermott was convinced by Zingarevich's commitment and future plans, and immediately signed a new contract until summer 2015.
"I guess he could be our best signing," added Zingarevich. "When I came here I knew he was certain to stay as manager. It was a good moment for us when we sat down and figured out what we were going to do.
"We've been working together for many months now and he's a good man."
The delays with takeover caused scepticism amongst some Reading supporters given Zingarevich and TSI's Chris Samuelson were both involved in the failed buyout of Everton back in 2003.
But Premier League and Football League investigators found no grounds for concern and gave TSI the go-ahead a fortnight ago.
Royals have since increased the number of board members from two to six with Zingarevich, Samuelson, TSI's Andrew Obolensky plus Royals chief executive Nigel Howe joining current members Ian Wood-Smith and chairman Sir John Madejski.
Madejski will remain in the role he has fulfilled since 1990 for at least another two years before becoming life president.
"It shows the new owners are not looking to come in and change everything," declared Madejski. "A lot of complications arose with the takeover because when we started this process we were in the Championship and now we're in the Premier League.
"We had to go through the owners and directors test again because we had only done it in the Football League. But I'm delighted it's done and dusted and we can move on now."
And Madejski is confident Zingarevich is the right man to lead Reading into a new era, given the ex-Bearwood College student's ties with the area.
"It takes away all the uncertainty of moving forward, this is absolutely terrific new for Reading," he insisted.
"I'm delighted with the new owner. I've liked Anton since the first moment I saw him and I know he will be a very good custodian of Reading
"He has links with the area and this is just the kind of model we were looking for. "