Some Reading fans seem to always find something to complain about. There's this guy who wasn't happy about the date of the game with Brentford...
Meanwhile, I've also seen some supporters turn something so positive as promotion into a negative, claiming that we're "not ready" to go up. Personally, I don't buy this argument at all. The Premier League, as much as it is filled with overpaid divas and kept afloat by ridiculous TV deals, is the promised land in English football. Why would you not want to be there?
The Monetary Rewards
At this moment in time, I agree that this is not a team that would be competitive in the top flight. But the monetary rewards for promotion are now greater than ever. There has never been a better time to go up.
Presuming that the top two are now out of reach, Reading would have to make their way through the play-offs, with last season's Wembley final between Hull City and Sheffield Wednesday valued at £170 million by Deloitte's Sports Business Group. That figure will only increase for this campaign with a new Premier League TV deal worth around £8 billion, and it's a huge sum that should allow the club to pay off their reported £73 million debt with still £100 million to spare.
That money can then go on buying players to ensure that Reading are "ready" for the Premier League, and I don't mean Danny Guthrie and Pavel Pogrebnyak type signings. You only need to look at the examples of 2014-15's promoted clubs Bournemouth and Watford to see what a difference that prize money can make. Neither side were given much chance of avoiding relegation by the bookies and pundits alike, however both stayed up comfortably, finishing 16th and 13th respectively.
The Cherries spent £40.7 million in 2015-16, including breaking their transfer record to sign Benik Afobe for £10 million. They topped that last summer by bringing in Jordan Ibe for £15 million. Similarly, the Hornets spent £40.4 million on new players upon promotion, including record signing Abdoulaye Doucouré for £8 million. Furthermore, last summer they spent a further £50.3 million and signed Isaac Success for a new record £12.5 million.*
Granted, these two clubs may have been better off financially than Reading when they went up, but their record signings at the time were still similar to that of the £3.75 million we shelled out on Tiago Ilori in January. If we do get promoted and Brian Tevreden's negotiations are as good as they have been this season, then I have every confidence that we will buy players that will make us Premier League worthy.
Even if we do go straight back down to the Championship, we'll do so with a nice goodbye present from the Premier League. Aston Villa, who finished bottom of the top division last season, still earned £66.2 million for their troubles. And that's not even taking into consideration parachute payments.
If Reading were to spend just one season back in the Premier League, we'd receive a parachute payment of £40 million in year one back in the Championship, and then £33 million in year two, as reported by Sky Sports.
This sets up you up very nicely upon your return to the second tier, although as Villa and their excessive spending have proven, it's not always that easy. But again, with a technical director such as Brian Tevreden, you'd hope that we wouldn't end up in a situation like the Midlands 'giants'.
It may sound as though a cycle is starting to occur whereby relegated teams challenge for promotion straight away thanks to the money they receive from being in the top flight. In truth, that probably is the case, but the sooner Reading get themselves into that cycle, the better.
What happens if we don't go up?
Plus, who knows what will happen if we don't take our chance this season? Yes, we might well do better next year like Brighton and Middlesbrough have done after play-off heart-break, but equally we could go back to mid-table obscurity like Brentford and Ipswich have done.
Jaap Stam has already been linked to one Premier League job, albeit very loosely by the Dutch media, but the 44 year old's stock is rising as we speak, and if we don't go up then there's no guarantee that he'll stay in Berkshire. After all, his contract is up at the end of next season. Equally, we could see key players from this season move on to bigger and better things should promotion not be achieved.
The same can be said about bringing in players in if we remain in the Championship. The longer this club goes without returning to the Premier League, the less attractive it becomes for potential new signings. For a team whose history for the most part is well, pretty ordinary, being a recent(ish) top flight team does boost our reputation somewhat.
*all Bournemouth and Watford figures obtained from www.transferleague.co.uk
What do you make of Olly's argument? Would you rather try and reap the rewards of promotion this year or give it another season to be more prepared? Let us know in the comments below and on Twitter @TheTilehurstEnd.