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5 Things - Summer Special

5 Things is back with a vengeance in this summer special edition as Bucks Royal dissects how the close season has gone for the Royals so far.

Charlie Crowhurst

1. We happy few...
Taking a brief look at the Royals' current squad, it's clear that we're getting very short of players - the list of 20 senior players with a shirt number includes Royston Drenthe, who isn't expected to play for the club again (more on him later), and Mikkel Andersen - who, despite arriving from Akademisk BK in 2007, is yet to make his full debut.

On another point, it's also interesting to note what the squad list says about the first team. In theory, the lower the squad number, the higher a player is rated by the manager (for instance, the best attacking players get shirt numbers like 7, 9 and 10). However, over the course of the last year, Reading have lost numbers 6, 8 and 11 without replacing them (Messrs Mariappa, Leigertwood and McAnuff). Add to that numbers 1, 3 and 10 being unlikely to be regulars next season (Messrs Federici, Kelly and Drenthe), and the squad looks even weaker in terms not only of depth, but also of first-teamers.

With a squad that has an average age of 22 now that experienced players have left, it'll certainly be interesting to see what shirt numbers the likes of Danny Williams, Jordan Obita and Michael Hector get next season.

2. A little less conversation...

One of the things that Reading have been known for in recent years is being a good club to do business with - Neil Warnock said as much in this unsubtly egotistical opinion piece. However, things have taken an interesting turn in the last few weeks with incoming owner Samrit Bunditkitsada passing on his business plans to Reading fans via Facebook.

With any football club, fans are always likely to want open communication with the ownership - after all, a football club isn't just a business, it's an integral part of the local community that gets as much emotion invested into it as cash. But for me, I'd never want to see the interests of the club jeopardised for the sake of greater transparency. I'd rather see more off-the-pitch success happen in the dark than risk deals fall apart because an owner spills the beans on Facebook.

3. The continuing adventures of Royston Drenthe...

Alongside ownership of the club, the Drenthe conundrum is a sub-plot that has perplexed and bemused Reading fans for months (you can read @ThatMarcMayo's attempts to unravel it here). With the enigmatic Dutchman reportedly being told that he can leave the club, even his most patient supporters are probably going to have to accept that this signing has been an utter failure. Since arriving on a free transfer, the Talented Mr Drenthe has done his very best to create new clichés about promising so much but bizarrely failing to do so. I could recite the old ‘he played so well on some occasions but was average for the rest of his time on the pitch' till kingdom come (or Royston becomes a consistent performer), but it's now clear that Nigel Adkins has had enough, exiling him to the U21s group for the foreseeable future - although, then again, their recent success would suggest that that's not such a bad place to be.

4. The kit maketh the man...

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Our full 2014-15 home kit.&#10;Pre-order: <a href="http://t.co/DEptPDfVJN">http://t.co/DEptPDfVJN</a>&#10;<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ThanksJack?src=hash">#ThanksJack</a> <a href="http://t.co/NPm9GKQFhe">pic.twitter.com/NPm9GKQFhe</a></p>&mdash; Reading FC (@ReadingFC) <a href="https://twitter.com/ReadingFC/statuses/486118633001975809">July 7, 2014</a></blockquote>

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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Our navy away shirt for 2014-15&#10;Pre-order: <a href="http://t.co/b5FEnY15kx">http://t.co/b5FEnY15kx</a>&#10;<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ThanksJack?src=hash">#ThanksJack</a> <a href="http://t.co/AWsPVRlICz">pic.twitter.com/AWsPVRlICz</a></p>&mdash; Reading FC (@ReadingFC) <a href="https://twitter.com/ReadingFC/statuses/486121581085990912">July 7, 2014</a></blockquote>

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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Our new goalkeeper shirt 2014-15 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ThanksJack?src=hash">#ThanksJack</a> &#10;Pre-order: <a href="http://t.co/lEXtkdNWnG">http://t.co/lEXtkdNWnG</a> <a href="http://t.co/VFyKJZuzMj">pic.twitter.com/VFyKJZuzMj</a></p>&mdash; Reading FC (@ReadingFC) <a href="https://twitter.com/ReadingFC/statuses/486116917028323328">July 7, 2014</a></blockquote>

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The new kit appears to be an unsubtle nod to that of the 2011/12 season with the white collar and bigger blue blocks rather than thinner hoops. To me, it also seems to be one of the more popular efforts in recent years, ticking the three key boxes for any Reading home shirt - it must have a collar (a scientifically-proven indicator that we will win the league whilst wearing it), look quite nice (naturally) and, most importantly of all, have hoops all the way around - 2011/12's all-white back panel made us look worryingly like Leeds United, and no one wants that.

5. To boldly go where everyone has gone before...

One of the (arguably) more fortunate sides of having had ownership troubles for the last couple of months is that Reading were unable to book a foreign-based pre-season tour of the quality seen in previous years like Portugal and Slovenia. This year, they will instead have the exotic locations of Exeter and Stevenage to look forward to, having spent some time training in the Midlands. It might not be what the Royals were looking forward to, but at least being closer to home makes it easier for Loyal Royals to see the team in action.

What are your main talking points at the moment? Were any of them missed out here? Is Bucks Royal talking a load of complete rubbish? Leave a comment below.