Reading learned of Brian McDermott's sacking by a group text message.
The Daily Mail says Reading's shocked players learned McDermott had been sacked on Monday when they all received a round-robin text message from the club.
A core group of senior players were said to be baffled and angered by the treatment of the manager who led them into the Premier League just 10 months ago.
McDermott, 51, had been at the club for nearly 13 years, serving as Under 19 and reserve boss, chief scout and finally manager. He sent texts to friends saying he was "devastated".
The Royals' billionaire owner, Russian Anton Zingarevich, took the decision after Saturday's 2-1 home defeat by Aston Villa, which left the club off bottom spot only on goal difference.