Former Reading FC captain Jem Karacan revealed that his Royals career was almost over before it had even properly started in 2009

The Turkey youth international had made his debut in 2007 under Steve Coppell and played 17 times in 2008/09, the iconic manager’s last season in Berkshire before leaving after a disappointing play-off defeat to Burnley.

Former Academy manager Brendan Rodgers returned to the club in summer 2009, and Karacan was told he was free to go after an offer from Besiktas, in the Turkish Super Lig, has been accepted.

Speaking exclusively to the Reading Chronicle, Karacan said: “He [Coppell] had done such amazing things for the club, but Brendan came in and not long after Brian did, and it was all rosy again. It’s a real shame that they’re not back involved with the club at the moment.

“I knew Brendan as he offered us our scholarship before a changing of the guard when Brendan went to Chelsea and Eamonn [Dolan] came in, so I had worked a bit with Brendan in the past.

“He knew us, and he knew the academy lads, but it was odd as he came in and said they’d accepted an offer from Besiktas. Before I knew it, I was told I was free to leave.

“Over the course of pre-season, I wasn’t really involved but leading up to the season he pulled me and said you’re not leaving and where do you want to play. I started the season, but I came out of the team- Brian came in and it all changed again.

“Brendan’s training was unbelievable and amazing buit didn’t work out. Brian knew a lot of us anyway and knew our characters. A lot of the squad were there from Coppell, and he knew we could play that way.

“We went back to basics and had a great team spirit, with Gibbo [Nigel Gibbs] who was a great coach.

“We stayed up that season and went on an incredible three- or four-year period.”

Karacan went on to play more than 30 games in each of the next three seasons, including the 2011 Championship play-off final and the 2012 Championship winning side.

Described as “home” by the future Galatasaray and Bolton Wanderers midfielder, Karacan looks back incredibly fondly on the successful period with the Royals.

He continued: “It was crazy. We always knew we had quality players, but that team never got any praise. We’d never get team of the week, so typical Reading flying under the radar. It helped as we could just crack on. We knew if we turn up on a Saturday at the Madejski we were going to win.

“There was such a confidence and belief and that was incredible. There was such a feel-good factor. It was heart-breaking to lose in the final, but we knew we could do it again, and then the magic happened.”