News and Views
Five Players Leave As Exodus Begins
07 May 2014
By Hob Nob Anyone?
After Reading finished the Championship season in seventh place, missing out on the play-offs, the departure of key players has began. The club have confirmed that the contracts of club captain Jobi McAnuff, Kaspars Gorkss, Mikele Leigertwood, Wayne Bridge and Stuart Taylor will not be renewed this summer. Wayne Bridge will now retire after a disappointing season struggling with knee injuries, while the other players are likely to be on the hunt for new clubs. It does seem in keeping with the clubs policy to reduce the age of the squad - and dramatically decrease the wage bill by making way for cheaper academy players.
The club released a statement that praised all the departing players but concentrated on long serving McAnuff, Gorkss, and Leigertwood:
Director of Football Nick Hammond said, "On behalf of the club, I would like to firstly thank Jobi, Mikele and Kaspars. They are part of our club's history and we are very grateful for their contribution, especially during that unbelievable promotion season. We truly wish them well. Wayne and Stuart were also both highly valued members of our squad; Wayne had a difficult time with injuries after being in the Championship team of the year last season, while Stuart has served us very well and his attitude has been absolutely first class."
Manager Nigel Adkins said, "I would like to place on record my thanks to Jobi, Mikele, Kaspars, Wayne and Stuart for their efforts and contribution to the cause. Jobi has captained the team so well and for what he's achieved he will be always be remembered here. Ledge has worked tirelessly to come back from injury this season and I've said many times how much I admire his attitude. Kaspars is captain of his country and is a true professional who sets a great example. Wayne is a top player whose season was sadly hampered by injury but he's worked ever so hard, and Stuart played in my very first game in charge and has always been a beneficial positive influence around the place. We wish them well in their continued careers."
Jobi McAnuff signed for Reading from Watford in the summer of 2009 and had a very successful Reading career - making 198 starts and also scoring 16 goals. He featured in every Premier League match in the 2012/2013 season. Leigertwood struggled with injury this season but made his return to the team towards the end of the season and was impressive in Saturday's 2-2 draw with Burnley. It looked like he still had plenty to offer Reading in the Championship and it's a shame to see him leave. Gorkss, like McAnuff, also played a big part in this season after three years and 86 starts for the Royals.
The real worry for Reading fans is if these players will be replaced or if the club, still without real ownership, will see this as an opportunity to reduce the squad size and shrink the wage bill. A number of other players, currently under contract, are expected to attract interest from other clubs, which could see further key players exit the club. Alex McCarthy and Adam Le Fondre are both subject to transfer rumours and you can't help feel that they are unlikely to be with Reading next season. Reading failed to make signings in the last transfer window and it seems that once again there won't be budget for improving the squad this summer. The blessing for Reading is the strength of the academy and the impressive squads underneath the senior side. It seems likely that a number of players will move up into the senior squad for the 2014/2015 season. It could be a young, but inexperienced, squad lining up in the Championship next season for the Royals.
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