Reading football club have been in the spotlight in recent weeks with the news that long standing chairman Sir John Madejski, has decided to sell a 51% stake of his beloved football club. The club is one of the oldest clubs in the football league after being established in 1871. The club has been through numerous issues in the past, but since Sir John Madejski purchased the club in 1991, the club has never looked back. Madejski has put everything he owns into the club, moving them from the dilapidated Elm Park to a state of the art stadium on the outskirts of Reading. Since the takeover of the club, the club has had a meteoric rise from the depths of league two to rubbing shoulders with the big boys in the Premiership.
However, after many years of funding it was clear to see that Madejski, who has invested millions in the club, was severely lacking funds and from the fans perspective had taken the club as far as he could have in this current volatile economy. It was time for Madejski to try and actively sell the club on to try and take the club further and back to the premier league, but the buyers, have been hard to come by, until the last few weeks, where the club has been in talks with Thames Sport Investment which was fronted by the son of a Russian Billionaire. Anton Zingarevich (Which is an absolute nightmare to spell) has already pledged funds to the club which were made available to McDermott in the last few days of the January transfer window which enabled the club to sign 3 new players to the club, Jason Roberts, Thomas Cywka and Matthew Connolly. This was surprising commitment to the new potential owner who will not acquire the club till March due to only starting the legal process a few days before the end of the transfer window. From these extra funds, we can see that there is financial backing from the new owners, and gives the club a new chance to battle with the big boys again in the premier league, but with the new ownership is it going to help the club compete in the highest echelons of the football league or is it going to take a well-run, financially dependent club and turn them into a club with an excessive wage bill that the club cannot afford, and spiralling amounts of the debt that could tragically ruin one of the oldest clubs in the football league?
However, the future looks good for Reading fans in the last few weeks, with more information about the initial takeover being publicised which has helped ease supporters worries about this new takeover. In a recent press conference the club, the news emerged that the new owners would not change the beloved ‘Reading Ethos’ which Madejski had spent a long time building up under his guidance. Madejski was quoted as saying “John is delighted because TSI are not going to change the prudent ethos of the club, and the club should no longer have to sell its best players in order to be sustainable”. I’m sure, just like myself and others, we breathed a massive sigh of relief when hearing that news, and instead of thinking that the club, would be buying players on massive wage budgets that the club has never seen before and taken a club that was relatively debt free to becoming best mates with the HRMC as many clubs around Reading in the championship have seen. Instead, the new owners want to maintain the reading ethos, and keep the club exactly as they are but providing the club the opportunity to be stronger in the transfer market and give the manager the opportunity to keep the clubs star players at the club which is something that the club has struggled to do in previous seasons. Players such as Shane Long, Kevin Doyle and Gylfi Sigurdsson have left the club after helping the club reach new heights in previous seasons as the club could not keep their star players from premiership clubs.
The club now has a fantastic opportunity to be able to keep their star players and to add new players to their squad and add to the club infrastructure and with the new added financial security that the new owners will bring to the club, it seems that the only way for the royals is up. And with Sir John Madejski staying at the club with as life president, and with Madejski staying at the club for years to come, it encourages the idea that the Reading Ethos is here to stay, and the club is only goig to do thing that’s are beneficiary for them and to always keep their head on the ground*.
*Saying this, in recent days, the club has been linked to players such as Owen Hargreaves, Michael Owen and Alexander Hleb. Ah well, we can only try and keep our head on the ground. (Famous Last Words)