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What Could Relegation Mean For Reading?

Just how damaging would dropping to the third tier for the first time in 16 years be for the club?

Reading v Ipswich Town - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images

Sunday’s game against Cardiff is a proper relegation showdown for Reading. A win or draw should be enough to cement our Championship status, but a loss may risk us falling to the third tier for the first time since 2002. Below, Tom Amies explores what could happen if the Royals come up short on the final day of the season.

A huge amount of departures

Should the Royals be relegated this Sunday, I’m sure there will be a large number of players that aren’t willing to drop down a division and will want to leave to continue their progression.

This could leave Reading in a precarious position as I doubt there will be a huge amount of money made available to replace those players and we may end up with alternatives that aren’t of the standard we need. I’m sure some of the younger players are cut out for League One, but more experienced faces would be needed and I’m not sure we could get them.

The threat of double relegation

There has been several cases over the years of teams being relegated from the Championship, and then from League One in the space of two to three seasons, and this could be the case for Reading should they go down.

Even if a lot of the current crop of players stay, confidence will be at an all-time low and, as shown this season, when players’ heads go down, it takes a lot to get them back up again. Paul Clement would have a tough job trying to re-motivate this group.

Portsmouth v Northampton Town - Checkatrade Trophy
Portsmouth are just one example of a team that has plummeted through the divisions in recent years.
Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images

Unrest amongst supporters

The atmosphere around the Madejski on Saturday ended up being quite toxic and a complete contrast to that at the Queens Park Rangers and Preston games. The supporters clearly weren’t happy, and understandably so, and that could easily get worse next season should Reading go down, especially if they start next season poorly.

A poor run of form at the start of next season may cause the atmosphere to become more toxic than it was even before Jaap Stam left. If the Royals go down, they will need to put on some seriously good performances to win back round the fans.

Financial issues

If some of the high earners were to stay, which I doubt, then that could leave Reading quite short on money. This is because fewer people will buy season tickets because fewer people want to watch the same football we have this season, meaning less revenue for the club.

Reading aren’t exactly made of money anyway, so any further financial problems could leave the Royals in a difficult position.