A frequent criticism of the club of late has been the deafening silence of Reading's owners. With the 2015/16 season proving to be a depressingly poor one, it seemed as if the Royals' shareholders had lost interest. However, Sumrith Thanakarnjanasuth, who spoke to Brian McDermott personally a few weeks ago, has recently given some very interesting comments back in Thailand.
Speaking to Nation TV, Sumrith 'Tiger' Thanakarnjanasuth revealed several key bits of information about Reading going forwards. Below, we've summarised those important points for you - none of this is an exact translation of what Sumrith said, what with my grasp of Thai being, well, non-existent.
Above all, the ultimate aim is for Reading to be promoted next season. As I'm sure many of you are thinking, the failure of the 2015/16 campaign suggests that's an unlikely target, but it's nice to see that our owners are ambitious. Perhaps Sumrith going public with this aim means that there will be a relatively sizeable transfer kitty for Brian McDermott in the summer? Unless he's sacked of course...
Sumrith then appears to say that, should the Royals be promoted, the team will then go back to Thailand on another pre-season tour. The logic behind that being that a Premier League Reading will get a lot of media attention on such a tour.
All in all, it's a fairly standard 'show off the team, boost the fanbase' tactic. The Thai public getting to know the team better will certainly help shift some jerseys. Who knows, maybe in a few years we'll see children running around the streets of Bangkok with names like 'Gunter' and 'Norwood' on their backs? We can but dream.
In addition to this, Reading are establishing a large international scouting network to bring in new players. That operation will work across Europe and Africa - Sumrith specifically namechecks countries like Holland, Germany, Turkey and Morocco.
Finally, Reading's shareholder has some word for the club's academy. One of the reasons that the Thai consortium chose to buy Reading was the reputation of the academy, although it hasn't yet produced any top-level talent.
What does this mean for Reading?
It's interesting that Sumrith chose to give this interview in Thailand, rather than in England where he could more directly reassure the fanbase of the owners' good intentions. That said, this isn't the first time that the Thais have elected to speak to the Thai media, so it's nothing new.
Putting it into context against our league performances in 2015/16, the promotion target is rather entertaining. That said, these are experienced businessmen (and businesswoman) who appear to have a long-term strategy with which to take Reading FC forward. With that in mind, they must have some reason to believe that such a target is attainable. Why publicise that aim, which currently looks very unlikely, otherwise?
The summer transfers will very likely be strongly influenced by the scouting network that appears to be being implemented. Having last year brought in Orlando Sa (meh) and Paolo Hurtado (lol), Brian Tevreden et al will naturally be looking to have more success in the coming weeks. Recently rumoured transfer target Danzell Gravenberch could very well have been discovered by that network.