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Discontent Is Understandable, Even If A Further Points Deduction For Reading Isn’t Guaranteed

Is it a bit premature to be too damning at this stage?

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Reading v Blackpool - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Andrew Kearns - CameraSport via Getty Images

Reading Football Club - you have caused us great pain and distress in recent years.

Today’s events shouldn’t have come as a shock to us because of that - but it doesn’t make things any easier!

According to The Telegraph’s John Percy, a further six-point deduction could be applied following the Royals’ failure to follow all of the rules set out in their business plan. And The Times believe that an even worse punishment could be on the horizon. It’s important to stress that hasn’t been confirmed by the EFL yet, nor have the club come out and admitted that.

This is why it’s difficult to make too much of a judgement at this stage - but it’s a big concern because Percy is usually spot on. The fact this story has been written by several outlets is also a bit of a worry - and it would be nice if the club came out and at least acknowledged these reports from the national media.

It’s not the duty of the club to respond to all rumours - but this subject is a serious one and many supporters will be sensitive about it considering it could define our future.

A six-point deduction was enough to send Sheffield Wednesday down to League One in 2021 - and with the Royals still not safe at this point - it could be a real psychological blow if a further sanction is applied between now and the end of this term.

Hopefully we have complied with the business plan in full - but there will be a lot of questions for the club to answer if they haven’t.

Many will blame the EFL if the Royals are docked points again and to an extent, where the blame lies may depend on what the issue is.

If it’s a revenue issue, you could have a bit of sympathy because the Berkshire outfit haven’t spent a huge amount and have stuck to the rules in terms of recruiting loanees and free agents. The EFL wouldn’t have sanctioned any deals involving a transfer fee - but that’s not the point. We haven’t spent a huge amount this season (on fees and wages anyway!)

At the same time, the club ought to take responsibility if they have breached any regulations because it was clear that a further deduction would be on the horizon if they didn’t follow the business plan to the letter.

Carelessness simply isn’t acceptable in our quest to build for the long term after this season.

Under the stewardship of Dai Yongge, the Royals have overspent, suffered big attendance decreases, lost their identity and spirit, made poor managerial appointments, failed to communicate well enough with the supporters, have a CEO in place who rarely speaks, haven’t managed to excite their fanbase and have lost their dignity.

The last point is a strong statement to make - but it’s true. We’ve been humiliated in the national press with our previous deduction and now this story. We can only hope our reputation improves.

Don’t even get me started about the latter stages of Veljko Paunovic’s tenure. Keeping him in charge for the Peterborough United game was simply irresponsible following the Coventry City match - and it summed up what was a shambolic 150th anniversary season.

A campaign that was supposed to be celebrated was marred by instability - and even though the club’s in a better league position now - we still haven’t heard from the owner or CEO this term.

A running commentary from either isn’t necessary - but at such an important time for the Royals with their embargo still hanging over them - at least one of the two should have stepped up to let supporters know what the plan is and what they’re currently doing.

One of them should have spoken out before today but it’s a non-negotiable now. The EFL have released a statement - and now it’s time for the club to follow suit and show that they have genuinely improved behind the scenes. A simple acknowledgement of these reports would be enough for now until they know more.

It’s not just up to Mark Bowen to keep us in the loop - a team effort will be needed if we want to be successful in the coming years.

Some supporters may be hoping that Mr Dai sells the club - but we’ve arguably become unsellable and that’s perhaps his biggest misdemeanour.

As others have pointed out, we have suffered big losses in the past few years, don’t own the training ground or the stadium, haven’t shown much promise in recent seasons and haven’t got a decent number of assets we can sell.

We aren’t in a great situation - and I just hope better times lie ahead for us. I’m more hopeful than optimistic at this stage though.

One thing’s for certain: my opinion of Mr Dai hasn’t changed because of today’s events. We haven’t been in great shape for a while now - and it has become draining for many of us to support this football club!

He has facilitated some positive changes at the club last summer and is clearly not in it for the money - but last season, our previous overspending and the past and present lack of communication is hard to forgive.

Reading fans, you have the right to be unhappy regardless of what happens in terms of a further punishment. It’s up to those in power to ensure the mood changes.