Reading chief exec Gourlay leaves

Reading chief executive Ron Gourlay has left the club with immediate effect.

Gourlay, a former Chelsea chief executive for five years, only took over at Reading in July 2017.

"I think now is the right time for change," Gourlay told the club's website.

"I would like to thank the club's owners, Mr Dai and Ms Dai, and my senior management team for their tremendous support during a challenging period for the club.

"I wish the manager, his coaching staff and the players every success for the remainder of this season and beyond."

Gourlay has over 25 years of experience in football and was also a senior director at Manchester United before joining Chelsea.

A statement on the Reading website said: "The owners would like to thank Ron for his hard work and professionalism since his appointment in July 2017 and we wish him well in his next venture and future endeavours.

"Our owners will now work diligently to recruit the right replacement as CEO, focusing on continuing to grow the business and driving this club forward both on and off the pitch.

"Mr Yongge Dai and Ms Xiu Li Dai would like to thank Royals fans for their patience during this process and their continued loyal support and passion for this football club."

Source: Football Webpages

Reading FC Promotion Xl 2011/12: Where are they now?

Reading FC Promotion Xl : 2011/12

Where are they now?

This August marks four years since the start of the 2011/12 season where Reading promoted to the Premier League as Championship winners.

I shall be looking at the players who played a key role in that season.

Goalkeeper: Adam Federici

The goalkeeper who was signed from Italian side Torres in 2005, played a huge role in getting Reading promoted that season.

The Australian goalkeeper kept 19 clean sheets playing nearly every game, producing some wonderful and memorable goalkeeping displays most noticeably against Brighton.

Federici is now at Premier League side Bournemouth having left Reading following the expiry of his contract at the end of the 2014/15 season, after being at the club for nearly 10 years.

Right back: Shaun Cummings

The defender who was signed from Chelsea during the Brendan Rogers era, found it difficult to nail a first team spot with Andy Griffin being preferred. However once Cummings got into the starting eleven he didn't look back, keeping 10 clean sheets in 34 appearances.

Cummings is now at League 1 side Millwall having been sold in the January transfer window of 2015, after falling out of favour with the then manager Steve Clarke.

Centre Back: Alex Pearce

The defender who came through the Royals academy, played a big role in defence for the Royals. Centre half Pearce kept 17 clean sheets and scored five goals along with two assists in 46 appearances.

Pearce is now at championship side Derby, having left Reading following the expiry of his contract at the end of the 2014/15 season.

Centre Back: Kaspar Gorkss

The defender who was signed from QPR in the summer of 2011 for a fee of around £850k, formed a solid partnership with Alex Pearce. The Latvian kept 16 clean sheets and scored three goals in 42 appearances for the Royals that season.

Having been released at the of 2013/14 season Gorkss went on to play for Colchester, before going to Greece to play for GS Ergotelis. Following that he went to the Czech Republic to play for Dukla Prag. Gorkss is now at Latvian side FK Liepaja.

Left Back: Ian Harte

The defender who was signed from Carlise for £100k in the summer of 2010, played a pivotal role in Reading's promotion to the Premier League. The Irishman kept nine clean sheets and scored four goals, along with nine assists in 32 appearances. An outstanding season for the left back.

Having been released at the end of the 2012/13 season, Harte moved to Bournemouth. Where he helped them have an outstanding first season in the championship and then help Bournemouth to the Premier League.

Having made 500 appearances, scored 72 goals and having 34 assists to his name including a spell at Spanish side Levante. Harte retired from football at the end of the 2014/15 season.

Right Wing: Jimmy Kebe

The right winger who was signed in the January transfer window of 2008 from French club Lens, played a big role in Reading's promotion to the Premier League. The Malian got 11 assists and three goals to his name as his skill and pace caused defenders all sorts of problems.

In the summer of 2013 Kebe left the club, being sold to Crystal Palace for a fee thought to be around £2 million. Kebe didn't have much success there, eventually being loaned out to Leeds in January 2014 where he got one goal in nine appearances. Kebe was then eventually released.

To do this day, Kebe is a free agent having been unable to find a club since his release.

Centre Midfield: Jem Karacan

Like Alex Pearce, Karacan came through the Reading academy. Karacan played a big part at the heart of the midfield with his energy and work rate. Karacan got five assists and five goals to his name in 37 appearances. Karacan's season was unfortunately cut short after he picked up an injury against Leeds in April.

Karacan is now at Turkish side Galatasaray, having left Reading following the expiry of his contract at the end of the 2014/15 season. Karacan has also gone on to win the Turkish Cup since his move to Turkey.

Centre Midfield: Mikele Leigertwood

Following a successful loan spell, Leigertwood was signed permernetly in the summer of 2011. The centre midfield got five goals and one assist in 41 appearances.

Leigertwood was released at the end of the 2013/14 season. Sadly a injury forced the centre midfielder to retire.

Leigertwood is now part of the backroom staff at non league side Hungerford Town as a coach.

Left Wing: Jobi Mcanuff

Signed from Watford during the Brendan Rogers era, Mcanuff played a huge role in Reading's promotion to the Premier League. The Jamaican got ten assists and five goals in 40 appearances.

Having been released at the end of the 2013/14 season, Mcanuff moved to Leyton Orient where he made 57 appearances and scored six goals.

At the end of the 2015/16, Mcanuff was released by Orient where he is now a free agent.

Striker: Noel Hunt

Signed from Dundee United in the summer of 2008, Hunt played a big role up front with his work rate and his goals. The Irishman got eight goals and eight assists in 41 appearances for the Royals, including a vital goal against West Ham at Upton Park towards the end of the season.

Having been released at the end of the 2012/13 season, Hunt moved to Leeds to re-join manager Brian McDermott. Whilst at Leeds, Hunt failed to score a single goal in 20 appearances for the Whites.

He was then shipped out on loan to Ipswich in November of the 2014/15 season, where he managed to score a last minute winner on his debut for the Tractor Boys against Charlton.

Hunt's move to Ipswich was made permanent in the January transfer window of 2015. In 12 apperances Hunt got three goals and one assist, before being released at the end of the of the 2014/15 season.

Hunt then moved to League 1 side Southend, where he got four goals and one assist in 21 appearances for the Shrimpers.

Hunt is currently a free agent having been released at the end of last season.

Striker: Jason Roberts

Jason Roberts didn't have a full season at the Royals during the 2011/12 season having only joined from Blackburn in the January transfer window of that season.

However he did play a huge role in firing Reading to the Premier League, scoring six goals and getting five assists in 17 appearances. Goals that included Roberts scoring against Burnley and the opener against Southampton at St Marys

Having picked up an injury in the 2012/13 season Roberts was forced to retire in 2014 having scored 89 goals and getting 21 assists in 340 appearances across his professional career.

Striker: Adam Le Fondre

Signed from Rotherham in the summer of 2011, Le Fondre had a fine first season at the club finishing as the club's top goalscorer in that season. Le Fondre played a massive role in firing Reading to the Premier League. He scored 12 goals, along with three assists in 32 appearances.

Le Fondre will be remembered for the goals that he got when coming on as substitute. Goals such as the brace against Leeds United and most memorably the brace against Southampton at St Mary, where Reading won 3-1 to all but seal promotion to the Premier League.

Having scored 27 goals across the next two seasons, including 12 in the Premier League. Reading were forced to sell Le Fondre to Cardiff for £2.5 million in order to pay an unpaid tax bill to HMRC.

Le Fondre didn't have much success at Cardiff, scoring only three goals in the first half of the 2014/15 season. He was then shipped out on loan to Bolton for the remaining half of the season. Le Fondre had better success there scoring eight goals in 18 appearances for the Trotters, along with one assist.

Last season Le Fondre spent the whole of the 2015/16 season on loan at Wolves, where he scored three goals in 30 appearances, along with six assists to his name.

Le Fondre remains at Cardiff and is looking to move away from the club this summer having been forced to train with the Cardiff development squad during pre-season.

 

Reading FC - The story so far

This season’s FA Cup has been full of upsets, but the biggest upset of all for Reading FC fans will be if they lose to Bradford in the replay next Monday. Bradford’s story started in the 1st Round and since then they have picked up famous victories against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and Sunderland at Valley Parade. Both wins were momentous both financially and historically.
But, for Reading FC fans a win against Bradford would be a historic win, as it would take Reading into the semi finals for the first time since 1927. The league form this year has been inconsistent and with promotion or relegation unlikely the FA cup has become a priority for many Reading fans.

The stakes have increased since the semi-final cup draw, as either giant-killers Bradford or Reading will play the holders of the cup, Arsenal. What an occasion that will be for either side! Also, the game is a sell out with tickets being sold within a few days as the anticipation around the area builds to a huge night at the Madejski Stadium.

The game at Valley Parade was far from the entertaining football we see from the Premier League games with multi-million pound footballers displaying their class. But, it was a tie for the whole-hearted football fans with both sides putting in 100% effort in an attempt to reach the semi-finals. The replay will be similar, but both sides will be able to play much more expansive football thanks to the condition of the pitch at the Madejski Stadium – in contrast to the Valley Parade pitch. The home crowd will be expecting a win with lower league opposition the final FA cup hurdle before a potential date with Wembley for the first time since a play-off final defeat in 2011.

With Reading playing on Saturday, we should expect some squad juggling. The away game on Saturday against Watford could be a perfect opportunity for Steve Clarke to use the youth with players such as Kuhl, Keown, Griffin, Long, Edwards, Stacey, Novakovich or Sweeney. I mention these players specifically, because they were left out of the U21 game vs. Middlesbrough. Possibly Clarke has decided to view the league game vs. Watford as a chance to rest his first team for the FA cup.

The Reading supporters will expect Reading to attack Bradford from the start, which will see slight changes to the team that played Bradford last weekend. For instance, Chris Gunter will probably replace Kelly at right back. One player who will remain in the starting XI is Reading’s February player of the month Jamie Mackie who scored a brace against Brighton on Tuesday.

It will be an interesting tie and on a chilly Monday night in Reading the atmosphere will heat up the occasion, as the Reading fans will find their voices. Both sides will hope this will not be the final chapter of a successful story so far.

Steve Clarke takes over at Reading

Its been a busy 24 hours or so at Reading Football Club. Yesterday it was announced that the club had relieved Nigel Adkins and his staff of their duties. Almost immediately former West Brom boss Steve Clarke became the bookies favourite and earlier today he was given the job on a 2-and-a-half year deal.

Firstly, my thoughts on Nigel Adkins. In my view, a fantastic man, and a fantastic manager. I was lucky enough to meet him and shadow him during a training session at Hogwood and he was a real gentleman and assisted me a huge amount in gaining experience with my coaching. Adkins came to a club and was promised a lot, and soon it became apparent that those promises would not be fulfilled with the departure of Anton Zingarevich. A lot of credit should be given to him to stick with it, it became a totally different job to the one he was sold, and many people would have walked away, but he didn't. What he was left with was a minimal budget to change the way these players play. He has a very clear idea of how football should be played, and had he had a reasonable budget and a good amount of time it may have worked, unfortunately this did not happen. For me, a lot of comparisons can be made to Brendan Rodgers, a man who had a clear vision of how he wanted us to play, but very minimal resources. It didn't work for Brendan at Reading either, and now look where he is. There is no doubt in my mind Adkins will do a fantastic job somewhere else, and I look forward to seeing how his career develops from here on in.

When I heard the news about Adkins I began to think about who I would bring in. I have to say, Steve Clarke was certainly on my list, and high up it. I really felt we needed someone with good football knowledge, but the ability to grind out results and maybe take a small step backwards in the style we play. We have never been known for high possession football, we have always had ball winning centre midfielders, 2 out-and-out wingers and 2 strikers, and its proved a success in the past. We need an adaptable manager, one who can be slightly more flexible in the way he approaches games. I certainly think those boxes are ticket with Clarke, not to mention his phenomenal CV as a coach.

Without a doubt it is always going to be a risk with a new manager, but I really hope Clarke proves a success. He has a point to prove to the football community and I'm sure he will do well. I also feel its time for the players to stand up and be counted. It's easy for us as fans to sit in our armchairs and point fingers at the manager, but he has to work with squad of players he has and they simply have not been good enough in recent weeks. This team undoubtedly has talent, its time to work hard and get the results we need.

From a fan, best of luck to Nigel Adkins, Andy Crosby and Dean Wilkins, and of course, good luck to the new man at the helm, Steve Clarke.

Thanks for reading.

A View on Reading FC

Every once in a while I take to writing an article about my beloved club. I have remained silent for a while now and think it is about time to put my view across.

Its been a turbulent time of late, apart finally securing permanent owners, things have been below par. Performances on the field have left our fans calling for Adkins head. I have to admit, that despite performances and the increasing lack of support I still would not sack Mr Adkins. Our fans have a real lack of patience, and that small amount has already run out with most. I agree performances have not been good enough, but I think people forget that the manager is one man, and a football club is run by many people. Ultimately, results tend to fall upon the shoulders of the man at the helm, however I strongly feel that a lot of players have to take a good look at themselves and wonder if they are doing enough.

It is fair to say the team have been below par this season, but none more so than Alex Pearce. Pearce is a player in increasingly dislike and seems far from the defender that was rumoured to be joining Liverpool only a couple of years ago. Dubbed by Bredan Rodgers as the next John Terry for me he is far from that standard and always will be. He lacks great footballing ability and worries me every time he receives the ball, and does not seem like an Adkins player to me. Since his red card, we have played 2 games with Cooper and Hector as our Center Back pair and won one and drawn the other, keeping a clean sheet. I don't think that is coincidence. The game against Cardiff, Pearce single-handedly lost us the game, getting sent off, giving away a penalty and scoring an own goal. For me, with the little I have seen of the injury prone Ferdinand so far, Pearce is my fourth choice in that position.

Players aside, I think we also have to consider the position Adkins found himself in shortly after joining the club. A man promised money to spend and strong backing from the board was left with a club with no owners and serious amount of debt meaning he had very little to work with. I was lucky enough to meet Nigel Adkins before the Thais came in, I was at a training session and speaking with the man himself, he spoke of how he had several players who 'did not want to improve as footballers'. You can take what you want from that statement, but it does not seem he was happy with his squad, regardless of what he was saying to the press. We now find ourselves in a position with new owners, who everyone seemed excited about at first, but unable to spend any proper money due to Financial Fair Play restrictions which we would not be close to breaching if our favourite Russian had not screwed us over. Yes, Adkins has had the chance to bring in one or two faces, and I would like to point out the ones that have actually been his signings have proved the most successful signings in a long time (Cox, Norwood, Mackie). It would be great for him to have the chance to spend in January, but that looks unlikely. So what are fans asking for? Adkins out? Well I'd suggest that if that did happen, the next manager to step in would find himself in a position where he can't spend any money and has to work with what he's got, and given a little time the Reading faithful will yet again be calling for that mans head. Before things are sorted financially, and from top to bottom, this club will struggle to push forward. If we find anyone who can take us to the next level under the current restrictions then fantastic, but we'll then struggle at the next level with no money. At the end of this season, we will be in a better position, I don't think we'll have trouble staying in the Championship and I hope we will have Adkins at the helm. Then he'll have a window where he can really make a few signings of his own and then I will start to judge him a little harsher. For now, I realise that whoever we have as our manager, things are going to be difficult. Let's hope I'm proved wrong.

 

Thanks for Reading.