Boy, Dai Yongge and Dai Xiu Li sure are popular. You’ve given the siblings, who hold a majority share in Reading, the highest-ever score we’ve seen in our approval rating series: 4.13/5.
We’ve run the poll since as far back as October 2015, when the Thai consortium of Lady Sasima, Tiger and Narin Niruttinanon were given an average of 3.76. That would prove to be the high-water mark for quite some time, with the score generally dipping below 3/5 until late 2018.
However, drastic action behind the scenes from the Dais from last autumn pushed their rating ever upwards. First came the ousting of Paul Clement, Ron Gourlay and Gianluca Nani and appointment of Nigel Howe and Jose Gomes, then an unexpectedly positive good January transfer window with five high-quality additions.
Securing safety a few months later continued the upwards trajectory, and meant the current owners edged that previous high-water mark by getting 3.83 in June of this year. You can see a graph showing all of this at the bottom of the piece.
This time out, a whopping 55.5% of you gave Dai Yongge and Dai Xiu Li the maximum score of 5/5, with another 26.4% on 4/5. Otherwise, 3.6% opted for 3/5, 5.5% for 2/5, and 9.1% for 1.5.
This latest approval rating saw you reward the owners for another strong period of incomings, with the record signing of George Puscas the highlight. However, bringing back Matt Miazga and Ovie Ejaria from January, and loaning in Lucas Boye, Pele and others was also well-received.
In addition, Dai Yongge bankrolling free coach travel for the 15 furthest away games went down really well. What better way to show that you care about the fans - and hopefully boost away attendances - than to cover the cost of travel?
On the flipside, there are still some finance-related that need resolving over the coming months and years. The club still has a lot of work to do if they’re to stay within the confines of Financial Fair Play, and whether or not we end up doing so is certainly something we’ll have to mark the owners on.
Related to that, the squad still needs trimming. Although a number of fringe players have left this year, others must join them: Chris Gunter, Garath McCleary, Sam Walker and Sam Baldock.
Despite those issues, we’ve certainly got very popular owners, and it’s great to see the fans having that connection with those in charge of the club. It is odd though that the Dais have managed that with little direction communication with the fans. As much as they’ve done well by letting their actions do the talking, a personal statement from Yongge or Xiu Li would go down very well.