In his first interview to Dutch media since departing Reading on loan, Joey van den Berg has given a scathing account of his time at the Madejski Stadium.
The defensive midfielder played no part in the Royals’ pre-season before his move to NEC Nijmegen, and told newspaper De Gelderlander that he was left completely in the cold by Paul Clement, even training with the youth teams:
“I had to participate in the first training in preparation with under-23. They tried to get into my head. They thought I would just leave. But I was not going to throw away a year’s salary. I just sat down, even though they had put me down at Under-17. Certainly in the last year I have noticed that clubs do not care about you.”
Speaking about last season’s horrific form that led to Reading only surviving relegation on the final day, van den Berg gave an insight into the mood within squad:
“We lost so many matches. But no one in the locker room worried. The worst thing was that I was going to accept it at some point.”
It’s certainly worrying that it seems there was a sense of naivety about the battle to avoid the drop, even more so as it was echoed by Liam Kelly when the academy graduate spoke to the media before the game with Derby earlier this week.
Whilst the 32-year-old doesn’t feel his experience in England was all bad, it seems he certainly won’t look back on his two years and 68 games on these shores with much fondness:
“It was instructive for me and my family. My daughter speaks fluent English and because we did not have anyone else there, we were drawn closer together. I have played in stadiums of such big clubs, unimaginable. But the last months were a rut. They wanted me less every time. I am glad I am rid of it. Toedelokie.”
‘Toedelokie’ might seem like a Ned Flanders-esque catchphrase, a quick google suggests that it’s a slang/informal way of saying ‘Goodbye’ in Dutch. Depending on which site you read, it is often apparently used for saying farewell to someone you don’t particularly like.
So, er, it’s probably fair to say we won’t see Joey van den Berg in a Reading shirt ever again...