Steve Coppell is set to celebrate his fourth year at Reading - but admits he may not have survived half the time in different circumstances.
After being appointed boss on October 9, 2003, Coppell could not get the club in the play-offs in his first two seasons but then masterminded their emphatic Championship title charge.
They finished that season with 106 points and would have been promoted with just 82, but Coppell believes his job would have been under threat if they did not show early form, despite the league having a history of late rallies.
"Realistically, if we hadn't had a decent start it would have been common sense to move me on, but thankfully we had a great start, a great middle and a great end and for two years we were living the dream at the club," he said.
"I think everyone is aware this season is different. It is a season which requires different qualities which provides us with a huge challenge. I'm really looking forward to that challenge."