A Desperate Day at Reading FC
Posted on January 14, 2024
In the shadow of persistent disillusionment, today marked my reluctant return to Reading FC alongside my son and stepson. The journey to the ground was overshadowed by the looming protests saturating social media. We knew things were likely to turn ugly and they did.
The situation at Reading FC, a long standing bastion of Football League history, has plunged into a despondent abyss. A series of crises unfold, from clandestine transfer dealings to the unsettling image of office workers bundled in coats due to a chilling absence of heating. Coaching staff are being sacked and wage payments are in doubt.
Echoes of Desperation
Yesterday, the once-peaceful discontent among fans metamorphosed into a poignant display of despair, culminating in a pitch invasion and the eventual abandonment of the game. This desperate plea for attention underscored the deep-seated frustration of fans. It worked. Sky and the BBC were all over it and everyone was talking about it.
As uncertainty hangs thick in the air, the aftermath of the protest remains shrouded in sadness. January brings little hope of payments for staff and players, and the owner’s callous indifference amplifies the collective despair. The hate/hate relationship between owner and fans has surpassed Kramer v Kramer levels. It is irreparable.
Complicit Silence of the EFL
Examining the complicity of the EFL (English Football League), it becomes clear that their prior decisions contributed to the club’s distress. Dai Yongge’s tarnished history did not deter the EFL, leading to a chain of events that now unfold as a tragic narrative.
In my opinion, it’s a bit churlish to place all the blame at the feet of the EFL. However. it is utterly bizarre that a man who had liquidated clubs in China and Belgium and was denied access to Premier League clubs, was allowed anywhere near an English league club. It makes a mockery of their ‘Fit & Proper’ system that is supposed to protect their members from rogue businessmen.
Stripped Hopes and Desperate Sales
The club’s future appears bleak, with the owners ruthlessly stripping away assets in a desperate bid to salvage remnants of their investment. Rival clubs circle like vultures, eyeing players in what amounts to a heart-wrenching fire sale, rendering the once-aspirational £50 million valuation an absolute fantasy.
There is now the real possibility that Reading will stop functioning this season. Without players or coaching staff and facilities they could end up like a faltering Sunday team. A scenario where they are looking for volunteers to play and work for free in a frantic bid to stop the club from folding. It’s that desperate.
Rebuilding from Ashes
In contemplating the aftermath, the possibility emerges of a club picking through the ruins, attempting to rebuild from scratch. A fan-backed community club, rising from the ashes of non-league obscurity, may be the only glimmer of hope. For a club that once graced the top two tiers of English football for two decades, the tragic demise weighs heavily on the collective soul.
It will almost be a relief when everyone at the club knows where they are starting from.