Reading Football Club News: November 2021

Dull Defeat

23 November 2021
By Hob Nob Anyone?

It is hard to know where to begin to analyse this extremely poor performance from a Reading team which has often passed the ball well, shown resilience and character defensively and created and scored some very good goals. Last night what occurred can only be described as a collective failure by the team and the manager and his coaching staff. Against a Sheffield United side struggling to score goals and going into this match on a run of four games without a win, Reading managed only one shot on target and allowed their opponents to dominate possession overall. Until an appalling defensive error by Rahman was punished by Jayden Bogle after fifty-seven minutes to give United a deserved lead, neither team looked capable of even creating chances, never mind scoring a goal.
Reading 0 Sheffield United 1:

Reading Earn Home Point

20 November 2021
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Reading fans had barely had time to settle into their seats before they saw their team 'switch off' defensively and allow Forest's Zinckernagel weave his way unchallenged through their team's midfield and defence and drill the ball past an unprotected Luke Southwood. With the news of a six point deduction during the week which saw Reading drop perilously close to the relegation zone, this was not the start required to boost morale. To their credit for the remaining eighty plus minutes Reading were resolute in the their defending, enterprising going forward, and ultimately salvaged a well-deserved and much needed point courtesy of a second half equaliser from Scott Dann.

Six Point Deduction Confirmed

17 November 2021
By Hob Nob Anyone?

It has been confirmed that Reading have a six point deduction for "exceeding the EFL's Profit and Sustainability limits", which will be immediately applied to the Championship table. A further six point deduction may be applied next season if Reading fail to meet "an agreed business plan going forward".

The points deduction has been hanging over the club for a long time now and it feels like a massive relief to finally get the deduction applied - and an even larger relief that only six points will be deducted for now. There had been a lot of talk of a twelve point deduction, and to only have six applied this season means Reading have a very good chance of Championship football next season.

The deduction sees Reading drop from 16th place to 19th place and the Royals remain four points outside of the bottom three.

Moving forward, Reading will find their activity in the transfer market will continue to be limited as spending on players will be capped to keep in line with the EFL agreement.

Andy Carroll Signs Short Term Contract

15 November 2021
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Reading have confirmed a temporary contract has been agreed with Andy Carroll to bring him to the club until mid-January. The Royals had been linked with the out-of-contract striker since the summer but have finally confirmed his arrival at Reading's injury problems up front continue. With Puscas struggling with form and a huge injury list that includes virtually all our other options up front Reading will be hoping that Carroll can make an immediate impact. We will of course be assuming that Carroll arrives at Reading match fit to come straight into the squad and that he can stay injury free during his short time at the club.

Carroll has been without a club this season after leaving Newcastle United in the Summer. Perhaps his most successful time of his career came during his first spell at Newcastle between 2006 and 2011 after he turned professional at the club. He made 80 league appearances for Newcastle, scoring 31 goals before making a 35-million-pound move to Liverpool, making him one of the most expensive footballers in the world at the time. He left after two and a half years, and West Ham were still happy to pay 15 million for his services. After six years with the Hammers, and another 26 league goals, he moved back to Newcastle on a free transfer. Carroll also has nine England caps and two goals for his country. There's no doubt that Carroll is a massive name, and he is still only 32, but time will tell to see what he can bring to Reading in the Championship.

Former Royal Kébé Now Playing in Pro Poker

12 November 2021
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Longtime Reading supporters remember Jimmy Kébé as a sure-footed right winger who graced 175 appearances for Reading between 2008 and 2013. The French-born, Mali international player netted 31 goals and 45 assists during his six seasons as a Royal.

Kébé was a favourite for the fan base at Mad Stad; a cult hero who personally benefited by becoming a key regular after Reading were relegated to the Championship following the 2007-08 season. Prior to landing at Reading in January 2008, Kébé came up in the French leagues with Lens and spent loan stints with Châteauroux and Boulogne. Kébé traded the pitch for the felt top and life as a professional poker player after retiring from football in 2016.

Life on the Pitch Doesn't Last Forever

Kébé's ouster from elite football was an unpleasant spiral. A spate of injuries, including a groin strain suffered against Everton while with Reading in March 2013, ultimately knocked him out of the game. Still, Kébé fought for several seasons to stay in football. 
In August 2013, he departed the Royals and joined Crystal Palace where he played 190 minutes in six appearances. He eventually landed on loan with Leeds and scored one goal in nine appearances in 2014.
Kébé moved on to Real Mallorca for the 2014-15 campaign but did not see any playing time for the vermillion side. 

A Forced Career Change Pays Off

Kébé's poker interest modestly well before the conclusion of his football career. He would often play card games with teammates on the club bus while traveling from away matches. Kébé recalls his poker savvy was heads and shoulders above that of his teammates.

Once he started to get serious, Kébé learned more about tournaments, especially about how the different types work, and he even started competing against the pros. He also sought out cash games with competitive punters while at home in England. 

The move to poker has paid off for Kébé over the last half decade. He was once ranked at #411 in the world, and he's currently ranked as #372 among French players. His all-time poker winnings have amassed nearly $370,000 USD. 
Kébé's biggest live cash win was a $99,960 grab and second-place finish in No Limit Hold'em at a WSOP Circuit Main event in Marrakech in 2019.  

The footballer-turned-poker-ace notes a distinct difference between the sports. In football, playing your best usually results in a win, according to Kébé'. This isn't the case with poker. Players with superior skills often lose due to poker's nuances of timing and opportunity. 

Once a Royal, Always a Royal

Kébé carries fond memories of his days in the Royals kit and still maintains connections to the club. He often speaks to former teammate Khalifa Cissé. The Malian duo were staples under managers Steve Coppell, Brendan Rodgers, and Brian McDermott from 2008 to 2010. 

The 37-year-old met his wife while playing for Reading, and the couple lives in London. His father-in-law remains an ardent Royals supporter. On the rare occasion that Kébé misses a match, his father-in-law is quick to update him via text or phone call.  

Kébé's favourite moments with Reading were pushing for EPL promotion in 2012 and scoring the Royals' then-quickest ever goal in 2010-a blistering 9.5 seconds score that came against West Bromwich Albion in an FA Cup tie match. 
That mark was bested by Yakou Méïté in October 2020 on an eight second goal during a 4-2 Championship victory over Blackburn. 

A Bright Future with the Chips Down

Kebe feels that having poker in his life eased what might otherwise have been a rocky transition away from football. 
He notes that many former players have difficulty adjusting to life without a set schedule and practice routine. Kebe's involvement in poker was rising at the time injuries forced him to give up football.

The former Royal will always be grateful for the opportunity to move from one competitive sport to another.