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What Happened To The Royals That Left The Mad Stad In 2019? Part Two

The second part of a closer look at the players who left the Royals permanently in 2019 and how they are performing for their new clubs.

Bolton Wanderers v Rochdale - Sky Bet League One Photo by Andrew Kearns - CameraSport via Getty Images

Paul McShane

The Royals captain bid farewell at the end of the 2018/19 season, four years after joining from Hull City in 2015 on a free transfer. The Irishman saw it all at Reading, from the cusp of promotion to the brink of relegation. All in all, he will be remembered fondly by Reading fans.

Following his release from Reading, McShane joined Rochdale on a short-term deal. Since joining the Dale, he has played nine times and performed fairly solidly. As his career comes to a close, he will finish as one of the star players in League One.

Do Reading miss Paul? No. Paul McShane served Reading well but was surplus to requirements and therefore rightfully parted ways with the Royals.

Good business? Yes

George Legg

As it stands, George Legg is without a club. The man proved himself to be a solid keeper with various spells at Hungerford, Barnet, Boreham Wood, Braintree and Aldershot, but at 23 it wasn’t going to happen for him with Reading in the Championship. It is unlikely he will cut it at that level but there is certainly a future for him in football. Legg and Reading parted ways at the end of the 2018/19 season, with the club not offering Legg the chance to renew.

Do Reading miss George? No. The young keeper never got going at Reading. The club won’t miss him, with great prospects such as Luke Southwood and Coniah Boyce-Clark coming through the academy.

Good business? Yes

Soccer - Reading FC - First Training Session - Hogwood Park

Leandro Bacuna

Leandro Bacuna featured regularly for the Royals side of 2018 before getting a January 2019 Premier League move to newly promoted Cardiff City. Many Reading fans felt the move was undeserved at the time. Bacuna was never a weak link, rather inconsistent and, simply put: bang average. He hasn’t set the world alight since joining the Bluebirds either. They were relegated back down to the Championship and have since struggled to put together any real promotion campaign.

Bacuna has played 22 times in the league so far this season, performing relatively poorly but scoring once. However, he’s been no worse than any of his surrounding team mates under the management of Neil Warnock and Neil Harris. Bacuna was subbed off in QPR’s New Year’s Day 6-1 dismantlement of Cardiff City.

Do Reading miss Leandro? No. He played all over the pitch for Reading and was a useful squad player to have, but they certainly don’t need him. The Royals did the right thing cashing in when they could; the £3.1m fee received has proved far more useful than Bacuna was, with Reading agreeing a £3m deal for the footballing wizard Ovie Ejaria.

Cardiff City fans have since made it clear how they feel about the Bacuna signing...

Good business? Yes

Tiago Ilori

In January 2019, Tiago Ilori left Berkshire to return to boyhood club Sporting CP. The Portuguese centre back was a first-team regular at the Mad Stad; he was fairly reliable and had a good relationship with the fans, even earning his own chant. It came as somewhat of a surprise when he left for his homeland mid-season, but Reading fans could not complain after two good years.

Sporting CP v Belenenses SAD - Liga NOS Photo by Gualter Fatia/Getty Images

Ilori is more of a squad player in Portugal, but has featured regularly in the Europa League this season - starting three times for Sporting.

Do Reading miss Tiago? Not really. Just under a year ago the answer may have been yes, but the Royals have since replaced him with the likes of Matt Miazga, Michael Morrison and even Tom McIntyre coming through the ranks. However, given his fairly consistent level of performance between 2017 and 2019, it could be considered poor business to have made a £1.71m loss on the Portuguese defender. Ilori was a good signing for Reading and we may have benefitted from keeping him for a little longer.

Good business? No

David Edwards

Ahh, Dave Edwards. Need I say any more?

The veteran midfielder signed from Wolves in the summer of 2017 for a believed fee of £990k. He didn’t start too many games for Reading, and when he did he showed us why. The Welshman will be remembered best for a training ground bust-up that led to a knee injury, along with being sent off 30 minutes into a potential season-defining match away to Aston Villa.

Following that game, Edwards released a statement apologising for his lack of discipline. He was quickly forgiven but there was only so long that the Royals fans could build excuses and Edwards eventually left in January 2019 to return to his boyhood club, Shrewsbury Town.

Do Reading miss Dave? No. A midfield including Charlie Adam, Pele, Ovie Ejaria, Andy Rinomhota and John Swift does not miss Dave Edwards. Having said this, Edwards performed considerably better than David Meyler for Reading - another strange signing...

Good business? Yes

David Meyler

The less said about David Meyler's impact on the pitch, the better.

There were questions asked from the minute Meyler signed on the dotted line. Many fans questioned his attitude, claiming he was more focused on streaming various video games than playing football for Reading FC. Meyler quickly dismissed these claims, insisting he was always giving his all and the gaming is just how he uses his downtime.

The central midfielder played just five times for Reading in the Championship; his time with the club was riddled with injuries. Meyler secured a loan move to Coventry City on deadline day in January 2019, but he struggled to make an impact at the Ricoh before returning to Berkshire. Unfortunately, David Meyler was left with no choice other than to retire due to injuries, aged just 30.

He later revealed his struggles with mental health, which you can read more about here.

Do Reading miss David? Nope.

Good business? N/A

Pelle Clement

Clement was another player who left Reading in the winter transfer window of 2018/19. He rejoined Jaap Stam at PEC Zwolle, linking up with the man who was pivotal in him coming to the Madejski Stadium in the first place.

He’d struggled to find any form in Berkshire and was quickly dismissed by Paul Clement and José Gomes. Pelle Clement has become quite important to PEC Zwolle, contributing to four goals in 16 starts so far this term.

Do Reading miss Pelle? Almost certainly not. Maybe a good prospect, maybe even a good squad player, but it never really happened for Clement in England and Reading fans would’ve been glad to see the back of him, albeit on a free.

Good business? Yes

PEC Zwolle v ADO Den Haag - Dutch Eredivisie Photo by Angelo Blankespoor/Soccrates/Getty Images

Darren Sidoel

Darren Sidoel joined the Royals from Ajax’s youth ranks in Summer of 2018. He failed to make any first team appearances for Reading and left the club after just one year. It was reported that Sidoel was unhappy with the treatment given to him by the Royals’ head of youth development, Ged Roddy, who has since been relieved of his duties by the club.

Sidoel is now playing regularly for mid-table Bulgarian side Arda Kardzhali.

Do Reading miss Darren? Again, no. The young centre back never had the opportunity to impress. As a result, Reading fans don't know what they are missing, as is the case with a lot of youth players who fail to make the cut. It is all down to opinion, but personally I would have been keen to see Sidoel in a Reading shirt - even as a sub in the Carabao Cup, just to give us an idea of where he was at. I don't think we should have let him go so soon, particularly if we were also getting rid of Roddy.

Good business? No

Lewis Ward

Lewis Ward failed to break into the first team at Reading. He endured eight loan spells while with the club, even appearing 12 times in League Two and also playing overseas in Iceland. Unfortunately it wasn't to be for Lewis; Reading aren't short of choice when it comes to young keepers and, of course, there is only one spot up for grabs.

Lewis now plays his trade for Exeter City in League Two where he has played 12 times so far. Ward broke his arm in the 86th minute against Crewe Alexandra on October 5, but managed to play the rest of the game. He has since been recovering.

Do Reading miss Lewis? No. Ward was 22 years old by time he left the Royals; it was good business by the club to take another player off of the wage bill. He wasn't in Reading’s plans.

Good business? Yes


All in all, there are a few handy players that Reading could have done with keeping. However, the majority of the players who have left over the past year have failed to make Reading rue their decision.

What names will come up in the mirror article this time next year?