clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Reading FC’s Hall Of Shame: Club’s (Mostly Bad) Signings Since Madejski

There has been little strategy in the transfer market since 2012, we rate every player brought in since John Madejski sold the club.

Bolton Wanderers v Reading - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

These are all the transfers/seasons that post-date January 2012 when John Madejski sold a controlling stake to Anton Zingarevich.

Season 2011-12

Manager: Brian McDermott


  • Tomasz Cywka (Derby County, free): Lightweight midfielder who made little impact. 5/10
  • Jason Roberts (Blackburn Rovers, £536k): Transformed the side and no player had a bigger impact in our Championship win than Roberts. Injuries meant he barely played in his last two seasons. 8/10
Reading Football Club Championship Trophy Victory Parade Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images
  • Matthew Connolly (QPR, loan): His promotion winning experience meant he was a useful squad player. 6/10
  • Hayden Mullins (Portsmouth, loan): The Reading born player was another loanee brought in to shore up the squad. Started crucial games against Brighton and Southampton. 7/10
  • Benik Afobe (Arsenal, loan): The arrival of Afobe was a sign that Simon Church was not trusted to replace the injured Roberts. Afobe was short of match fitness. 5/10

Season 2012-13

Managers: Brian McDermott and Nigel Adkins


  • Garath McCleary (Nottingham Forest, free): Has mostly been injured or flattered to deceive. When he’s good, he’s very good but those occasions have been far too rare. 6/10
  • Danny Guthrie (Newcastle United, free): Arrived talking of playing for England, then he was played out of position, then he sulked, and then he began his decline which seems him today play for Indonesian club Mitra Kukar. 5/10
  • Pavel Pogrebnyak (Fulham, free): Became a cult hero because he was a character, Russian and he tried. He was also on ridiculous wages that required far more than working hard. 5/10
  • Nicky Shorey (West Bromwich Albion, free): They say never go back. Initially Shorey proved that wrong and he was our best player in the autumn. Then something happened and his career never recovered. 5/10
  • Adrian Mariappa (Watford, £2.5m): One of the few players who came out of that season with credit. 7/10
  • Chris Gunter (Nottingham Forest, £2.3m): Great servant to the club and has a wonderful attitude. Has never justified his transfer fee. 6/10
  • Stuart Taylor (Manchester City, free): Apparently he spent two seasons at the club. 4/10
  • Daniel Carriço (Sporting CP, £675k): Possibly the strangest signing in the club’s history. Hauled off at half time on his debut and barely seen again. 4/10
Reading v West Bromwich Albion - Premier League Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images
  • Hope Akpan (Crawley Town, £350k): Strangely looked better in the Premier League than he did in the Championship. Out of his depth but at least he didn’t cost much. 5/10
  • Stephen Kelly (Fulham, £1.35m): Signed a few months after Gunter arrived and Shaun Cummings had signed a new contract. Made Gunter look like Cafu. 4/10
  • Nick Blackman (Sheffield United, £1.26m): Flattered to deceive until he turned amazing for a few months and earned a big money move. Rare player we made a profit on. 6/10

Season 2013-14

Manager: Nigel Adkins


  • Wayne Bridge (Manchester City, free): This looked like a decent signing given he had been voted in as left back in the PFA Championship team the season before. Played only two games after October and then retired. 5/10
  • Royston Drenthe (Alania Vladikavkaz, free): The epitome of the sort of player a club like Reading should never sign. Worst thing about him is that on the ball he looked like he was trying really hard. 1/10
  • Danny Williams (Hoffenheim, £1.8m): For three seasons he was injury prone, overrated and underachieved. Finally showed consistency in his final season just in time to get a bosman to the Premier League. 7/10
  • Chris Baird (Fulham, free): Steady enough, but after nine starts in a row he was dropped from the squad, as the club ran out of money so couldn’t afford to play let alone keep him. 5/10
  • Billy Sharp (Southampton, loan): Only seemed to be signed because he was a Nigel Adkins long term favourite. Too similar to Le Fondre. 5/10
Reading v Charlton Athletic - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images
  • Lasha Dvali (Skonto, hopefully free): Ah the era of random foreign signings, that scream dodgy, has really begun now! Uncapped 18 year old Georgian who was unlikely to ever be able to obtain a UK work permit. Did he even set a foot at Hogwood? 1/10

Season 2014-15

Managers: Nigel Adkins and Steve Clarke


  • Simon Cox (Nottingham Forest, £600k): Eight goals in 2014 was a good return. No goals in 2015 was less good. 5/10
  • Jamie Mackie (Nottingham Forest, loan): Five goals in one month means he is remembered more fondly than he should be. Great work ethic. 6/10
  • Anton Ferdinand (Antalyaspor, free): When he played he looked good, but that happened so rarely we ended up signing two more 30+ centre backs during his time at the club. 5/10
  • Oliver Norwood (Huddersfield Town, £750k): Good Championship who arguably still hasn’t been replaced. 7/10
  • Glenn Murray (Crystal Palace, loan): Good goal return, but clearly didn’t want to be at the club. 6/10
  • Jure Travner (FC Baku, free): Pointless signing. Made one appearance (photo evidence below). 1/10
Watford v Reading - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images
  • Nathaniel Chalobah (Chelsea, loan): Talented player who had a big role in our run to the FA Cup semi final. 7/10
  • Yakubu (Al Rayyan, free): Random signing who looked completely off the pace. Did score the winner against Derby in the cup so avoids being another 1/10. 3/10
  • Zat Knight (Colorado Rapids, free): Pointless signing. Made two appearances. 1/10
  • Nathan Aké (Chelsea, loan): Clearly a good player, but he was cup tied and our league season was over, so another pointless signing. 5/10
  • Kwesi Appiah (Crystal Palace, loan): See Aké, except he looked completely out of his depth apart from his last game when he scored. 3/10

Season 2015-16

Managers: Steve Clarke and Brian McDermott


  • Orlando Sá (Legia Warsaw, £1m): Started really promisingly before losing interest from autumn onwards. 5/10
  • Stephen Quinn (Hull City, free): A tidy player who always worked hard. His career at Reading was ruined by injuries. 5/10
  • Paul McShane (Hull City, free): Like Quinn he’s been injury prone, but he’s played enough to qualify as a success. 8/10
  • Jonathan Bond (Watford, £600k): On paper this looked like a quality signing, but there was a reason why Watford let him go so cheaply. Worst first choice ‘keeper since Simon Sheppard. 4/10
  • Ali Al-Habsi (Wigan Athletic, free): The only reason this isn’t a 10 is because he started so badly. After Steve Clarke was sacked he was immense. 9/10
  • Lisandro Semedo (Sporting CP, unknown): Who!? Now banging in the goals in the Dutch Eerste Divisie. 1/10
  • Rowan Liburd (Billericay Town, £70k): Never looked like Championship quality. 2/10
  • Andrew Taylor (Wigan Athletic, loan): Decent back up option. 6/10
  • Paolo Hurtado (Paços de Ferreira, £500k): Not really given a chance and quickly moved on after less than six months at the club. 4/10
  • Álex Fernández (Espanyol, loan): Pointless loan signing who never played under two different managers. Excellent social media game. 2/10
  • Lucas Piazon (Chelsea, loan): Clearly has talent but couldn’t be arsed after Clarke was sacked. Probably on silly wages. 3/10
  • Michael Hector (Chelsea, loan): Such a shame that he signed for Chelsea. Was one of our better players that season. 7/10
  • Matěj Vydra (Watford, £2m loan): Never got going and looked woefully short of confidence. The loan fee was criminal. 2/10
  • Ola John (Benfica, loan): Overrated and unfit. Probably cost a bomb too. 4/10
  • Seid Behram (Željezničar, unknown): Recently struggled for game time in Luxembourg and appears to be now playing in the Bosnian second tier. Was never going to get a work permit. This doesn’t scream dodgy at all! 1/10
  • George Evans (Manchester City, free): Steady enough player in a team playing well. Has never looked like imposing himself and by the end of last season was out of favour. 5/10
  • Yann Kermorgant (Bournemouth, £585k): If Kermorgant had retired in 2017 he would be given a 10. Injuries last season meant his season never got going. 8/10
  • Deniss Rakels (Cracovia, £450k): Looked like a League One striker. 5/10
Reading v West Bromwich Albion - The Emirates FA Cup Fifth Round Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images

Season 2016-17

Manager: Jaap Stam


  • Danzell Gravenberch (Dordrecht, £75k): Looked out of his depth. Barely played this season on loan to the Belgian second tier. Still has another year on his contract. 1/10
  • Joey van den Berg (Heerenveen, free): Was pretty decent in his first season but looked off the pace at times last season. Should never have been given a new contract, especially as he was not going to get a better offer elsewhere. 5/10
  • Joseph Mendes (Le Havre, unknown): Another foreign player who looked out of his depth, except for that one game against Aston Villa. 4/10
  • Anssi Jaakkola (Ajax Cape Town, unknown): Barely played and when he has done he has looked shaky. 4/10
  • John Swift (Chelsea, free): Strong start but he has never recovered from injury in his first season. On his day a classy player and still time for him to come good. 7/10
  • Roy Beerens (Hertha BSC, £530k): Decent player but had no fight in him. 6/10
  • Yakou Méïte (PSG, unknown): Questionable attitude but did show signs of potential. 5/10
  • Callum Harriott (Charlton Athletic, £300k): Unlucky with injury. Decent squad player when he has played. 6/10
  • Sandro Wieser (Thun, free): Never played and yet someone thought he was worth a three year contract. 1/10
  • Liam Moore (Leicester City, £1m): Possibly our best signing listed here. Could play in the Premier League. 10/10
  • Tyler Blackett (Manchester United, £1m): The lad’s got ability, but doesn’t seem to understand the game. Not a left back, but not a centre back either. Never worth the rumoured seven figure transfer fee. 5/10
  • Tiago Ilori (Liverpool, £3.75m): Record signing at the time. Not justified his transfer fee yet. Potentially looks a class player, but at times has been a liability and given the sense he hates defending, which is a problem for a defender. Can get better. 5/10
  • Adrian Popa (Steaua București, £540k): Seemed to be out of favour as soon as he arrived. Works hard with little end product. 4/10
  • Jordon Mutch (Crystal Palace, loan): Added nothing to the squad. 3/10
  • Reece Oxford (West Ham United, loan): Hardly played. 3/10
  • Lewis Grabban (Bournemouth, loan): Took too long to get going. Not helped by being played out of position. 5/10
Reading v Fulham - Sky Bet Championship Play Off: Second Leg Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images

Season 2017-18

Managers: Jaap Stam and Paul Clement


  • Pelle Clement (Ajax, unknown): Lightweight and not looked up to the Championship. 5/10
  • Jón Daði Böðvarsson (Wolverhampton Wanderers, £1m): Judging Böðvarsson is hard because the rumours for his transfer fee range from £1m to £3m. If it was £1m then he was a good addition. If £3m was the real figure then we massively overpaid for him. 7/10
  • Vito Mannone (Sunderland, £2m): Been okay and his penalty save against QPR was crucial in keeping us up. Never worth his transfer fee. 6/10
  • Modou Barrow (Swansea City, £1.25m): Brought some much needed excitement and got a decent goals return for a winger. 8/10
Reading v Cardiff City - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images
  • Leandro Bacuna (Aston Villa, £1.35m): Has shown potential. Needs to do better next season. 5/10
  • David Edwards (Wolverhampton Wanderers, £1m): Started off well, but his form plummeted like the team’s. By the end of the season he looked tired. 4/10
  • Sone Aluko (Fulham, £7.5m): Even if his transfer fee was half the rumoured figure he has still been a woeful waste of money. Another example of the sort of signing Reading FC should not be making. 1/10
  • Tommy Elphick (Aston Villa, loan): Injury meant he only ended up playing one game when he did look good. 5/10
  • Chris Martin (Derby County, loan): Looked overweight and uninterested. 2/10

Disagree with the ratings? Let us know on social media or below in the comments section.