Reading Football Club News: May 2022

Swift Joins West Brom

27 May 2022
By Hob Nob Anyone?

John Swift will join Championship club West Bromwich Albion after his contract expires at Reading this summer. The Royals have been unable to offer Swift a new contract due to financial restrictions and Swift will leave the club on a free transfer. Swift is just one of many players Reading are unable to retain this summer as they can't get close to player salary demands. Swift will sign a three contract at West Brom after six impressive years as a Reading player. It is a disappointment to see Swift leave after over 200 appearances and 33 goals for the club, but it obviously makes huge sense for Swift to leave when he can command a wage far above what Reading can offer. Reading fans will wish him well.

Swift, Morrison And Hoilett All To Leave

20 May 2022
By Hob Nob Anyone?

The club have revealed more details of on-going contract negotations, with the majority of the first team squad out of contract this summer. With the club in huge financial difficulties they are unable to meet the contract demands of some of the players on high salaries. This means that John Swift, Junior Hoilett and Michael Morrison are all set to leave as the club are unable to offer contacts, depite wishing to retain their services. All three players are now set to join new clubs for next season and will join Felipe Araruna, Alen Halilovic, Marc McNulty and Orjan Nyland who are not being offered new contracts.

With those players all but certain to depart, manager Paul Ince will be hoping some other players who have been offered contracts can agree terms to stay at the club, as Reading looks set for a dramatically different squad to begin the new season. Josh Laurent, Tom Holmes, Andy Rinomhota, Andy Yiadom, and Femi Azeez are all key first team players - even more so with other players out of the door. The good news is that all of those five players have been offered new contracts as their current deals expire. The bad news is that there is no guarantee any of them will agree new contracts. There remains a strong possibility they will accept a better offer elsewhere from a club that can offer more financially than the Royals can right now.

Meanwhile the club will also see their loan players depart with Danny Drinkwater, Tom Dele-Bashiru, Baba Rahman, Tom Ince and Karl Hein all returning to their parent clubs.

It all adds up to a massive turn around of players with so many of the first team squad leaving. Reading will be forced to turn to youth for the new Championship campaign and have confirmed that a large number of Under 23 and Under 18 players have been offered professional contracts. We will probably be fielding the youngest team in the Championship next season. There is no doubt that Reading have a great Academy set-up to bring such quality players through, however, Reading's Under 23s finished rock bottom of Division 2 this season, winning just five of their 26 league games. We will all hope these young players can successfully transfer to Championship football but Reading will face a difficult season ahead to keep outside of the bottom three.

Just How Good Was Adam Le Fondre

19 May 2022
By Hob Nob Anyone?

When Adam Le Fondre was snapped up for just £350k for League Two’s Rotherham United (and off the back of 58 goals in just over 100 games), nothing much was expected of the lower league hitman. But as fans of The Millers told Royals at the time, they had just picked up a striker who guaranteed goals. Websites such as Oddschecker, who provide tips on English football, had predicted that Reading weren’t going to pull up any trees in the 2011/12 Championship campaign. But a roller coaster ride under Brian McDermott was on the horizon, and Alfie was at the forefront.

Before arriving in Berkshire, Le Fondre was beloved at Rotherham and the best striker in League Two. His side were coming off the back of a disappointing campaign and, as such, announced his decision not to renew his contract at the end of the season. The Millers then decided to cash in on their prized asset. Despite a number of potential suitors which included West Ham United and Sheffield Wednesday, the 24-goal hotshot decided that the Madejski should be his new home.

The side he was joining, however, were a side that dropped down to 23rd in the Championship on his debut following defeat at the hands of Watford, their fourth loss on the spin. The Royals ended that run a week later, with Le Fondre bagging his first goal for the club in a 2-0 home victory over Doncaster Rovers. And from there, he and his teammates never looked back.

Alfie had chipped in with some crucial goals during the campaign without ever truly solidifying his place in the starting eleven. That would all change one week in April when Leeds United visited the Madejski. In a tight game finely poised at 0-0, the former Rochdale man would pop up with two goals in the last five minutes, sealing three massive points for Brian McDermott’s men. A week later, they visited St. Mary’s in a 1st vs 2nd clash that would ultimately decide where the second-tier crown would rest. Once again, it was Reading’s number nine that would decide the fate of the campaign, again scoring two late goals.

The following season saw Reading competing in the Premier League for the first time in four years. And it didn’t take long for Le Fondre to stamp his authority on the world’s biggest stage, scoring a last-minute equaliser at home to Stoke City in his side's opening game of the campaign. He’d follow that up with two goals at home to Everton in November, handing his team a 2-1 come-from-behind victory, their first of the season.

The turn of the year would bring the greatest moment in the Englishman’s career. Reading found themselves 2-0 down at home to West Bromwich Albion only for three goals in the last ten minutes to give them an unlikely win. Alfie bagged an 88th-minute equaliser from the bench, followed up by Russian target man Pavel Pogrebnyak’s winner two minutes later. A week later, the Royals visited St. James’ Park and once again trailed. Step up Le Fondre, who equalised with his first touch. Six minutes later he would score the winner, giving his side a much needed three points in the battle for survival. It didn’t stop there. 11 days later, his side trailed Chelsea by two goals and he came off the bench to score twice, including a 94th-minute equaliser. His exploits throughout the month of January would lead to him being awarded the Premier League Player of the Month award, despite playing just 85 minutes.

January was as good as it got and that campaign would ultimately end in disappointment, finishing in relegation back to the Championship at the first time of asking. Le Fondre too would leave at the end of the season for fellow Championship side Cardiff City. Throughout his career he has continued to prove himself as the ultimate poacher, bagging a colossal 256 goals. Unfortunately, he would never again reach those Premier League glory years, and till this day owns the fourth best minutes-per-goal ratio in English top-flight history at a goal every 124.4 minutes.

Season Tickets Prices Frozen Again

18 May 2022
By Hob Nob Anyone?

After a disappointing 2021/2022 season, Reading Football Club have frozen season ticket prices for next season's Championship football. Season ticket price increases are a rare thing at Reading FC and although we have had to endure a lot of seasons of average football, you can't fault the club for their ticket price policies. The Royals continue to provide some of the cheapest Championship club season ticket prices, and have continued to offer very cheap family ticketing in the Eamonn Dolan Stand.

Adult prices in the South Stand are just £299 for the season. In the family area, adults are £305, 65 and over are £215, 18-24 are £130, 17 and under are just £59, and for children 12 and under they can get a season ticket for just a pound a match - £23 for the season. The standard adult season ticket price is £375 for the Lower West and East Stand. The most expensive season ticket available is an adult in the Upper West for £425.

Existing season ticket holders have until Friday 17 June to renew for their existing seats.

Ince Permanent Manager As Bowen Returns

16 May 2022
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Paul Ince has been appointed permanent Reading manager despite winning just 4 of his 14 games in charge after arriving at the club to replace Veljko Paunovic. Ince has seen his team stuck in 21st place in the Championship throughout his charge - he arrived with Reading five points outside the bottom three and finished the season with Reading just four points outside of the drop zone. The Royals finished the season with three straight defeats without scoring a goal but those in charge had seen enough to believe Ince can improve Reading's fortunes next season.

After bring dumped by the club two years ago, Mark Bowen is returning as "Head of Football Operations". The club, who luckily appear to be forgiven by Bowen for his previous treatment, say the role includes "our coaching values, the club's player recruitment approach, the use of sports science, analysis and medical data".