Reading FC Sold to Russians, But the Real Crooks are at the Doorstep!
Posted on January 24, 2012
As a season ticket holder of Reading FC, I was quite staggered to hear the news at the weekend that the son of a Russian billionaire was going through the process of purchasing the club from current owner John Madjeski. Anyone who is interested in the club will know that he has been trying to offload the Royals for some time, enabling him to recoup his interest free loan that helped the club to rise to its current status as a mid to upper ranking Championship outfit. Like all football chairmen, feelings towards Madjeski have always been a cocktail of hate, adulation and indifference, but time will only tell whether this hasty looking sale will be a master stroke for Reading FC or a master stroke for John Madjeski. It is alleged by many that the recession has damaged his finances badly and if this sale is related to an urgent need for cash for JM to prop up other interests, there could be a rocky road ahead. Only time will tell.
What bemused me slightly is where the interest stems from and why Reading Football club, a team in the heart of the Thames Valley, an area that is not passionate about its football like areas of the North East, the North West, The Midlands or London? Whether it is because this area has less of a working class tradition or simply because apart from the odd sniff of glory, the Thames Valley has no real football history is open to many a heated debate. No doubt part of the presentation to the Russian’s was the supposed catchment area that Reading can boast in comparison to other clubs of interest that included Everton, a team with few fans outside Liverpool, and huge competition from just across Stanley Park. Looking at a map, I would say that Reading have a catchment area that circles Didcot/Wallingford to the north, Basingstoke to the south, Hungerford/Newbury to the west and Slough to the east. I think that’s a fair assessment.
Reading Football Club: Soon to be owned by Russian billionaires, making it one of Britain’s richest clubs
So where will the added support come from, added support that will make Reading a club that can grow further? Let’s say that it is a pretty safe bet that the club can enhance support from within, Reading is the biggest town in the UK, so that is a good start. Then there are some sizeable areas nearby; Camberley, Bracknell, Wokingham, Maidenhead, Tadley, Marlow, Henley, Newbury, Slough and of course Basingstoke. If you go South of Basingstoke the majority of support is for Southampton and Porstmouth, go east of Slough and you are in to London territory (you can forget that) north of Didcot and it’s Oxford United and west of Hungerford it is Swindon Town. I think the key to success is to enhance support in places like Tadley, Maidenhead, Bracknell, Burghfield and Newbury and to start poaching it from Southampton, Portsmouth and the London support that is heavily featured in Basingstoke and the traditional London support seen in and around Slough. How Reading intends to do this is anyone’s guess, though I suppose if they have the money, the obvious thing would be to get in to schools and clubs and promote and market themselves heavily around these regions. Football clubs do grow, my son is at school in Basingstoke and went on Saturday with two Reading fans, and if you drive past the bus stops from Basingstoke to Tadley on match days the amount of Reading support is quite staggering compared to when I was a kid, it must have grown by three or four times in size in the last twenty years. I have to say, on the face of that evidence, there is certainly potential growth at Reading.
It will certainly be an interesting ride, there is a lot of loose talk (without any evidence) about these guys being typical Russian gangsters and that Madjeski has been hoodwinked in to selling the club, maybe that is because he is now in his 70’s and approaching an age where we all seem susceptible to getting ripped off by ruthless salesmen. Maybe Madjeski feels he has done the right thing, but in reality he may have just done the millionaires equivalent of having a load of tarmac emptied on to the drive to the tune of five grand. The reason I say that, is because after chatting to some of my friends at football the other day, it dawned on me just how vulnerable the elderly are to getting fleeced by the utter low life that operate in the trade of preying on estates full of bungalows with jet washers, tarmac and double glazing. I happened to mention to my friends that an elderly guy opposite my father had been robbed of three grand to have his roof jet washed and this triggered off a catalogue of examples of home improvement financial disasters involving family or friends, some that are beyond belief. You almost expect it from rogue builders bodging driveways and hosing down roofs, but many so called reputable glazing companies come up with with huge quotations before going on to act out the part of offering fantastic discounts to pensioners, A***ian windows being one of culprits in our discussion.
These cunts fitted a plastic door at my friends’ elderly parents’ house for three grand and came back a few months later to “take pictures for their company brochure.” As soon as these cretinous individuals got through the door, they were tut tutting at the fascia and soffits on the house and bullying the couple in to signing a loan agreement to fit the materials, a credit deal that equated to an extortionate percentage value that a Russian guy buying a football club would be utterly ashamed of. This is a company that is allowed to advertise itself on national TV and in the press! It is scandalous and somewhat ironic that the TV watchdog shows who chase down these people promote their disgraceful activities during the advertisement breaks. These salesmen know what they are doing, they know that elderly people are too proud to ask for help from their kids and too ashamed to admit that they may have been ripped off. Being old may make you slower to react to a crook; it doesn’t mean you have no pride. The salesman also knows that the sons and daughters of the parents are also in the position of not wanting to patronise them, no one wants to make their mum or dad look stupid. Anyone who reads this blog do yourselves and your parents a favour, give them your mobile number and tell them to ring you, day or night, the minute someone turns up at the door trying to sale something. Without telling anyone how to suck eggs, the obvious rip off merchants are roof cleaners, tree or bush removers, driveway contractors, Kirby salesmen and double glazing reps. Good builders or landscape gardeners do not cold call old people, they are too busy.
So the moral of my story is this, would I rather have a Russian billionaire taking over the football club I support, or some bastard stealing cash of my own or indeed any of my friends parents?
Unless John Madjeski has seriously under estimated the wealth of this Russian chap, it is highly unlikely he will steal off your parents!