It’s that time again - we’d like to know how well you thinking two key figures at Reading Football Club are performing: manager Paul Ince and owner Dai Yongge.
The last time we asked you to grade Ince - in December - he got a very respectable score of 3.61/5. That was down from 4.26 in September. As for Dai, his most recent result was 3.59/5 in September, a huge improvement from 2.15/5 in June 2022.
A couple of months into 2023 feels like the right time to check back in. We’re just over 71% of the way through the league season with 13 of the 46 games still to go, and recently(ish) had a January transfer window to chew over.
First up, Paul Ince.
Reading have played 12 league matches since our last Ince approval rating. Those games have resulted in a pretty decent four wins, three draws and five losses; the total of 15 points puts the Royals 15th in the Championship over that period. All four victories came at home: Coventry City, Swansea City, Rotherham United and Blackpool.
In addition, a weakened Royals side saw off Watford in the FA Cup 2-0 to earn a spot in the fourth round. That match ended in defeat: a 3-1 loss at Manchester United.
Although results have been solid, performances haven’t been. Bar some real horror-shows (losing 4-0 at Stoke City and then 1-0 at Cardiff City), Reading have generally looked short of attacking ideas and pretty aimless tactically. It’s been particularly bad on the road, with the Royals losing their last four, without scoring a goal or looking that much like doing so.
We’ve run a couple of Twitter polls recently to gauge the mood around Ince when he’s seemingly come under a lot of pressure. He narrowly got a vote of confidence after the drab, late 1-0 defeat at Sunderland (53.7% in, 46.3% out), but comfortably lost after the same scoreline at Cardiff City (30.9% in, 69.1% out).
As for Dai Yongge, Reading are making some decent progress behind the scenes. Jared Dublin came in as the Royals’ new head of scouting, further bolstering the recruitment set-up after Reading brought in Brian Carey last year.
January was a quiet month on the transfer front though, with just the one signing arriving: Cesare Casadei. That’s probably about as good as Reading could have done realistically, with Reading still under strict restrictions due to the EFL’s business plan, which ultimately is in place because of historic mismanagement.
There’s also been no sign of progress on contracts, although that’s likelier to happen in the coming months when the Royals’ Championship status is hopefully officialised. Reading have a number of players set to depart at the end of the season, so there’s a big job on the club’s hands to build a new squad for 2023/24.
Away from the football side of things, Dai’s overseen some good stuff on the club’s link with the community. Reading have had three ‘Schools & Grassroots’ fixtures this season, starting with the 3-1 victory over Huddersfield Town and continuing since our last approval rating with the Coventry City (1-0 win) and Blackpool (3-1 win) matches.
So what do you make of the job Ince and Dai are doing? Have your say in the poll below - if it doesn’t display properly on your device, please use this link right here.