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Panic Or Patience? The Timing Of Reading FC's Past Summer Business

Reading fans (myself included) are getting increasingly jittery over the club's lack of business this summer but can history perhaps provide a reason for us to calm down?

Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

It's June 24th and as I write this Reading haven't signed so much as a cheap player from the League of Ireland yet alone a player (or more likely a number of players) who will turn us into promotion contenders overnight. Survey social media and you'll see an increasingly frustrated and growing group of Reading fans fed up with seeing players like Adam Federici leave the club without being replaced.

We've had a couple of articles asking for patience here on The Tilehurst End in recent weeks but now it's time to put some stats out on the table to see just how much, or how little, there is to worry about.

So let's look back on the past six summers to see when and how Reading have done business.

*August signings include those during deadline days in September

2014/15 0 0 5 3 2 19th
2013/14 3 0 0 3 0 7th
2012/13 2 5 0 7 0 19th (PL)
2011/12 1 0 3 4 0 1st
2010/11 1 1 2 3 1 5th
2009/10 0 1 6 5 2 9th
2008/09 0 1 2 3 0 4th
TOTAL 7 8 18 28 5 4th

So for those of you worried, history suggests that these are almost always quiet months of transfer business for the football club. We average just one signing a season during May and June with those figures are bloated by Anton's wild and reckless spending spree in 2013 and by a Premier League funded push the year before. Outside the Zingarevich era just two players in five seasons arrived before July 1.

Even July has usually been quiet for the football club, with eight signings in six seasons. Once agin that figure is hugely bloated by the season in the Premier League that saw players including Pavel Pogrebnyak, Adrian Mariappa and Chris Gunter all arrive at the Madejski.

Outside the Zingarevich era just two players in five seasons arrived before July first

By and large the club has done the vast majority of its business in August and on deadline day with 18 of the 33 summer signings we've made coming during the final month of the transfer window.

The reason for such a split? We have to sell before we can buy.

Aside from the Premier League year and Anton's 'Dad will pay it off later' splurge, we've always been waiting to sell prized assets and shift high earners before we can start to spend. In 08 it was watching Kitson, Sonko and Shorey go, 09 was Doyle, 2010 was Gylfi, 11 saw Mills and Long depart while 2014 was Le Fondre, Morrison and McCarthy. That policy is by far the most sensible yet sadly is far from exciting.

While managers will often stress the importance of getting deals done early, some of our best buys have been done late on with Norwood (Aug 21), Murray (Sept 1), Gorkss (Aug 24) Le Fondre (Aug 27), McAnuff (Aug 27) Armstrong (Aug 26) and Harte (Aug 31) all coming to the Madejski in the twilight of the window.

Even Clarke himself spoke that he feels he'll get more business done at the end of the window and sadly when you're at the bottom of the food chain, you just have to wait for other moves to happen first. We're back to the 'Reading way' an era that saw five players arrive before August over five seasons.

So the message here is painful yet clear. It's far from the time to panic but we're going to have an anxious 10 weeks or so wondering how Steve Clarke is going to pull this one off.....