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Opinion: No Time For Dai

Rumoured boardroom civil war aside, only Reading Football Club can be the winner; thus it’s time Dai Yonnge and his incompetent regime move on. RFC will endure, but its future will come at a cost.

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

The last fortnight has felt long, and Reading haven’t played in well over a month! Where do I begin? There’s so much “out there” right now but ultimately nothing as well, because the club has somehow gotten worse in communicating on various fronts. Something I’ve long written it needs to improve on.

Two months ago, I wrote that, if “RFC lurches to yet more crises and we see more of the same, despite last summer’s changes it’s simple: #DaiOut”. I now fully back campaigns which seek to end Dai Yongge’s ownership of Reading Football Club, and I encourage everyone to do the same.

STAR have gotten the ball rolling, saying “coordinated fan efforts are ongoing to respond to the situation unfolding at Reading FC”, and I await to see their plan. Furthermore, if you don’t already, follow all the big Reading fan groups such as The Tilehurst End, Elm Park Royals, Proud Royals and Club 1871.

The more of us behind this the better, but the aim should be clear: this ownership should go ASAP. There’s no need for further divergences on this within the fanbase, in my opinion. Reading Football Club is now a shadow of what it was under the previous Thai ownership. Sir John Madejski’s era feels like a different club altogether.

Owners who fail to acknowledge their shortcomings and learn cease to earn the right of ownership in my view. Dayong Pang said recently that Reading’s relegation was “not what we planned, it is not what we hoped for, it is not what we expected”. Not only are these comments far too late in their delivery, but relegation did look possible a year ago. Delusional from Pang as even Paul Ince said it was possible.

I know there’s been some who have chided calls to “constantly hear from the club”, but I urge you to think again. Reading are yet to publicly acknowledge the EFL’s recent charge outlining how the club managed to not pay “wages on time and in full” on three occasions last season.

One only has to look at Wigan Athletic and see that’s likely another points deduction coming our way. I’d like to be optimistic, but I can’t see how that doesn’t put Reading as contenders for dropping into League Two next season. Don’t even get me started on who the manager or any potential signings could be.

Right now Reading Football Club is so toxic that I can’t see anyone wishing to join. This all stems from Dai’s ongoing mismanagement of our club.

Succumbing to two rounds of points deductions due to bad historical decisions is one thing, but this most recent charge is outright ineptitude on a level I didn’t think possible. On top of that, paying wages on time is so basic; failing to do this three times is amateur. Any sensible business would build in safeguards and extra time after an initial error.

As CEO of Reading FC, Dayong Pang is no more than a ventriloquist dummy for Dai Yongge. The man steals a living representing the Royals. To repeatedly fall foul of the rules in my eyes shows us who these people really are: not fit, not proper and no longer welcome.

Paraphrasing the EFL’s “fit and proper” regulations, I’m going to stick my neck out here. Yes, the EFL have let Reading down, along with many other clubs in allowing certain individuals to own clubs. But I don’t think the EFL has a vendetta against us. I’d go as far as to say I feel the EFL’s charge against Dai Yongge is their way of saying he should consider his future in the game.

I would imagine that, under Sir John Madejski’s tenure, Reading were probably a club the EFL held in high regard given our business ethic. I’d bet they’re probably very sad to see where we are now and perhaps the suspended six points we were hit with this year - rather than 12 in one hit - is a testament to that? First offence and all.

John Madejski Photo by Staff/Mirrorpix/Getty Images

Our owners are simply craven rule-breakers. Dai Yongge even goes as far as to avoid sitting in the “owner’s box” when in town. It’s almost as if he’s trying to hide and you must ask: why? The last time he was seen at the SCL, we all know who was there with him. A quick Google of Kia Joorabchian tells you all you need to know...

Who honestly thinks owning a football club doesn’t come with media exposure which you think can be avoided?

Even if Dai Yongge’s reckless spending didn’t attract EFL penalties, the club accounts could be even further in the red than they are now, and we’d be more shackled to him and his whims. If anything the sanctions may have helped us here.

Some suggest Chinese investment in English football is a means to get money away from the authoritarian homeland. If true, there could well be a deal to be done, which needs doing soon before the asking price becomes too high.

Wanting Dai Yongge gone is one thing. The idea that someone will just buy him out, albeit preferable, could be unlikely, given how he’s operated up to now. It’ll be an arduous task. This regime couldn’t sell Danny Loader when it was obviously best to do so. I can’t see them willingly negotiating a sale in good faith. Therefore we have to be prepared for the likelihood of administration as they will probably stop spending once parties are interested.

That’ll automatically relegate us for sure, but let’s be honest, the unpaid wage sanctions could send us down anyway - not to mention any other skeletons of incompetence yet to be dug up.

All this sounds worrying I know, so let’s be real. Would you rather a Reading run well, looking to get back to League One, or a club run into the ground with crippling debt? That’s what happened to our old adversaries in Aldershot FC. I know which I’d rather.

No disrespect to the likes of Southend United and Scunthorpe United who have similarly fallen through the leagues due to ownership issues, but Reading are a much more prosperous undertaking for any would-be investors, with the stadium, training facilities, potential fanbase and a vibrant commercial economy to attract sponsors. We have it all, we just need the right people to join the dots.

Crisis clubs are like castaways in the sea. You’re desperate for help yet you don’t know if you’ll be picked up by good people or pirates looking to exploit you. I’d say we’re with the pirates already and it might well be worth the gamble of being thrown into the sea of administration.

Yes, that sounds mad, but it feels inevitable anyway and the last thing we need is Dai seeking further investments from one of his business associates. If he’s any measure to go by, they too could be fecklessly hopeless in running the club. As fans, if we can show we won’t put up with any nonsense, we might well discourage any other pirates from going near us.

These last few weeks could just be a blip, but in truth we’ve seen since 2017 that this administration trusts the wrong people and doesn’t know what it’s doing. It’s time to go.

Reading FC has seen off challenges to its existence before: tax debts, skint Russians, points deductions and even huge media moguls like Robert Maxwell.

Results on the pitch might have to take a back seat for a while, but let’s see what the fan groups come up with.

However for me, it’s time we got #DaiOut of our Reading FC.