Earlier this week, we asked you to rate the work of Reading boss Veljko Paunovic and the club’s owners, Dai Yongge and Dai Xiu Li, and the results are... not good.
Pauno’s approval stands at 2.63/5, which is down from 3.59/5 when we last asked you in May and unsurprisingly the lowest figure that the Serbian has polled at during his year in charge. It is also the lowest score that any Reading manager has recorded since Paul Clement’s measly 1.9 in October 2018. We don’t need to remind you what happened soon after.
Breaking the results down, the most popular score that Pauno received was 3/5 (41.3%), followed by 2/5 (27.2%). 16.3% of you seem appreciative of the constraints that he is working under and gave him a 4/5, whereas 14.1% appear to be firmly #PaunoOut and gave him 1/5. We suspect he himself may make up the 1.1% that voted 5/5.
The owners fare even worse. Their approval rating stands at 2.29/5, down from 3.35/5 in May. This is not only their lowest score since taking over in 2017, but also the lowest ever score since we started doing the owner approval ratings under the Thai consortium in 2015. The Chinese owners have recovered from low scores before though, coming in at 2.45 in September 2018 before rising to their highest ever score of 4.15 little over a year later.
Again, the most common score awarded to the owners in this month’s poll was 3/5 (33%), but then the next most popular grade was 1/5 (29.7%), quickly followed by 2/5 (24.2%). Just 11% of you voted 4/5 and only 2.2% went with 5/5.
Ultimately, these results are not too surprising. The mood around the whole club is arguably the lowest it has been in over a year, owing to problems both on and off the pitch.
Reading have started the Championship season poorly, losing four of the opening five matches, and looked particularly woeful defensively. The Royals have conceded the most goals in the top four leagues (13) and the last game before the international break was a horrific collapse against Huddersfield Town. The pressure is growing on Paunovic, and this month’s approval rating mirrors that feeling.
Behind the scenes, anger is beginning to be directed at Dai Yongge. Reading’s excessive but ultimately unsuccessful spending under the shopping centre businessman has finally caught up with them and they spent the summer dealing with a transfer embargo. Combine that with a continued lack of communication from the boardroom and supporters certainly have a right to ask questions.
The big question now is will these scores continue to slide? Will Pauno even get the chance to climb back up the popularity ladder? Steve Clarke, Jaap Stam, Paul Clement and Jose Gomes never recovered once their approval rating dropped below 3/5. Meanwhile, we’ve seen the owners peak and trough before, but the animosity feels slightly more serious this time.