Category Archives: Reading

A glimpse of the footballing world through covid-19

As football came to a standstill, with the last football fixtures played over a month ago, clubs submerged into circumstances which would cut revenue and throw thousands upon thousands of jobs into jeopardy. Uncertainty of cash flow has seen various individuals sacrifice a wage percentage to ensure non-playing staff receive income. In one example, Reading manager Mark Bowen and chief executive Nigel Howe took a ”substantial percentage” wage cut in order to pay staff at the Berkshire club.

In the uncertain times of today, football clubs and their players have not been short of ideas in helping out and keeping busy. Social media has been flooded with entertainment courtesy of the biggest stars in football, whether that be Cristiano Ronaldo using his children as weights in his home gym or Nottingham Forest winger, Joe Lolley throwing a pan over his house. We have certainly seen a variety!

Premier League Season Extends Hiatus Indefinitely Because of COVID ...
As Coronavirus causes disruptions across the globe, we gain insight to how the footballing world is reacting.

With recognition that a football club is a colossal source of employment relative to a small town or community, it has become crystal clear just how important the football industry has become to towns and cities across the country. Fears of small clubs being disabled in recovery from the Coronavirus pandemic puts whole communities in a dismal situation. Despite this pressing thought, the football clubs we know and love are giving back through support in the community.

In regards to the 2019/2020 football season as a whole key decisions certainly need to be made. After all, with so much money at stake and livelihoods of many at risk, should there in fact be any relegation’s this season? Dropping down a league is a deeply emotional as well as a troubling financial affair and in the current situation may we see the Premier League and the Football Leagues decide to stop the drop?  Perhaps the most likely of the options is to finish the season – when safe for players, immediate staff and reporters to do so- behind close doors. This option is certainly the safest and potentially most sensible option, but both players and fans alike will argue this does not allow for a true representation of the season considering how atmospheres in stadiums can affect the game.

As for promotions and league titles this has to be concluded, not only because the whole team, fans included, have been building towards that target, but have also pledged large amounts of their budget on the basis of gaining promotion. Suddenly having that taken away could have dire financial consequences. When it is safe to do this is still unknown,however some reports say that the start of June is a possibility.

Another thing to consider is how will contracts and the transfer window work? Players and staff contracts usually run until the end of June/July in order to cover the season. Will contracts have to be extended to see out the current season or will a general rule be brought in? How will the Transfer Window work with Social Distancing rules? Could deals be done via video calls, potentially yes, but will everyone be satisfied by this ?

On a large scale, we’ve seen in the space of two weeks players unite with #PlayersTogether. A charity set up amongst the Premier League club captains in order to fund and provide PPE, vital equipment for NHS staff and key workers on the front line of the pandemic.

At a local level, many clubs have delivered for those wonderful individuals of the NHS. In Watford, Vicarage Road has been opened to allow a place of rest and recovery for Doctors and Nurses and Watford General Hospital.

While up north, Wigan Athletic boss Paul Cook has transferred managerial skills to supermarket delivery skills, signing up as a key worker to deliver shopping to those in self-isolation.  

Manchester United and England striker, Marcus Rashford has also continued his work within the community by partnering with FareShare, a charity which is reaching out to school children who would usually benefit from free school meals. Rashford’s involvement has helped the charity raise over £20 million which is directly bettering lives through distribution of meals to over 400,000 school children.

Arguably social media has been poignant in lifting spirits of everyone bound to their homes, giving us an insight to the lives of footballers and also allowing engagement between clubs and community. Various footballers from all teams have been video calling with young fans and we even had an insight to the Liverpool side having their morning meeting via today’s technology.

Furthermore, the Match Of The Days boys are ever present on social media and also completing one of many football podcasts. In the time slot of the regular highlights programme the show continues to add some routine to football fans across the country.

In a time of little positivity, it is these small gestures that are welcomed to bring light to the situation.

To hear more about football during isolation please listen to our podcast below.

The Isolation Pod: When will football return and Newcastle to be taken over?

https://247-football.com/2020/04/21/blades-players-take-partial-wage-bonus-deferrals-due-to-ongoing-covid-19-pandemic/

Royals Part Company With Gomes

READING have announced the sacking of first team manager José Gomes with immediate effect.

A spokesperson on behalf of the Royals issued the following statement:

“Reading Football Club can announce that José Gomes has left his position as first team manager.

Gomes joined the club at the end of December 2018 and successfully steered the club away from the threat of relegation.

However, following just two wins in the first 11 league games in 2019-20, owner Mr Yongge Dai has made the difficult decision to part company with Gomes and make a change at first team level.

We would like to sincerely thank José for his hard work during his tenure as manager at Reading Football Club and we wish him the very best of luck in his future career.

The club will make no additional comment at this time but will provide further updates as soon as possible.”

The news from the Royals comes after reports in the last 48 hours regarding his future at the Madejski Stadium.

Following last weekend’s defeat to Bristol City in the Sky Bet Championship, which left the Royals 22nd in the table, Gomes said he’d be the first to resign if he thought his players had lost faith in him.

Since then rumours of his future had been widespread across social media, but the club have now officially announced the news of his departure.

Reading fans, what do you make to this decision? Who do you want to replace José Gomes? Let us know your thoughts below or on Twitter @247FootballUK.

Huddersfield Town v Reading Preview

Reading travel to Huddersfield after a 1-1 draw with promotion candidates West Brom. Last Sunday saw Reading put three past Cardiff as they eased to victory. The same can’t be said for Huddersfield Town though, as they are yet to register a win. The recently relegated team most recently fell to a late 2-1 defeat in South Wales on Tuesday night. Is there trouble for The Terriers?

Huddersfield will be looking to end a woeful run of form, which sees the West Yorkshire side not recording a win since February.

Jose Gomes’ men haven’t won on the road this term. This season has seen Reading squander at the KCOM Stadium, and pick up a very respectable point at the Hawthorns after leading until the 88th minute.

Mark Hudson has taken the caretaker manager role at the expense of German head coach Jan Siewert, however its not the first time the former player turned coach has taken charge of Town in front of a home crowd. Last season saw Hudson take charge for Huddersfield’s 3-0 defeat to Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City.

Reading have won just 1 of their 4 previous games. The Royals suffered defeat in their opening 2 games, however managing to accumulate 4 points in their last 2 outings.

Mark Hudson has expressed his interest in the current Huddersfield vacancy, nonetheless there will have to be an improvement on Tuesday night if he wants to secure the Job. Despite the performance at the Cardiff City stadium, Hudson is favourite to land the Huddersfield Job.

Huddersfield and Reading have a reasonably even head to head record. The last 12 meetings between the two sides has seen The Terriers win 5, lose 4 and draw 3. Despite the even record, both sets of fans will look back on the Play-Off showdown in may 2017 with contrasting emotions.

Huddersfield come into the game with no real injury concerns. Where as Reading will be without winger Jordan Obita and defender Tyler Blackett.

This weekend could see Josh Koroma and Reece Brown feature for the first time for Huddersfield, at the expense of the underperforming Alex Pritchard and Isaac Mbenza.

Huddersfield’s Chelsea loanee Trevor Chalobah will look to retain his role in the starting eleven, following the man of the match performance on Tuesday night.

Will we see Huddersfield document their first win of the campaign or will we see Reading steal the show and take all 3 points back to Berkshire?

Prediction: Huddersfield 0-0 Reading

Carabao Cup: Round One Draw Announced

The Carabao Cup Round One draw was made on Thursday evening from Morrisons, Colindale, North West London.

There were two stand out ties from the draw with AFC Wimbledon playing MK Dons, while newly-promoted Salford City will face Leeds United.

The draw was conducted by two former England internationals in John Barnes and Ray Parlour and was split into two regions – North and South.

Huddersfield Town, the hightest-ranked team in the Northern Section, will face Lincoln City while the highest ranked Southern side, West Bromwich Albion, will face Millwall.

Every club from Sky Bet League One and League Two enter the Carabao Cup in Round One, along with 22 Championship clubs.

Only Cardiff City and Fulham – who finished 18th and 19th respectively in the Premier League last season, will enter in Round Two, alongside the clubs from the Premier League, not in European competitions.

The first round matches are scheduled to take place week commencing Monday 12thAugust, with the final due to take place on March 1, 2020.

Full Round One Draw can be seen below:

North Draw

Tranmere Rovers v Hull City

Grimsby Town v Doncaster Rovers

Wigan Athletic v Stoke City

Port Vale v Burton Albion

Nottingham Forest v Fleetwood Town

Bradford City v Preston North End

Blackpool v Macclesfield Town

Blackburn Rovers v Oldham Athletic

Mansfield Town v Morecambe

Accrington Stanley v Sunderland

Scunthorpe United v Derby County

Rochdale v Bolton Wanderers

Huddersfield Town v Lincoln City

Middlesbrough v Crewe Alexandra

Shrewsbury Town v Rotherham United

Sheffield Wednesday v Bury

Salford City v Leeds United

Barnsley v Carlisle United

South Draw

Colchester United v Swindon Town

AFC Wimbledon v MK Dons

Oxford United v Peterborough United

Queens Park Rangers v Bristol City

Plymouth Argyle v Leyton Orient

Wycombe Wanderers v Reading

Charlton Athletic v Forest Green Rovers

Gillingham v Newport County

Stevenage v Southend United

Luton Town v Ipswich Town

Walsall v Crawley Town

Bristol Rovers v Cheltenham Town

Brentford v Cambridge United

Coventry City v Exeter City

Swansea City v Northampton Town

The make-or-break nature of Championship promotion

In recent years, the Premier League has flourished as one of the best leagues in the world, and with its success, the financial implications of the league have grown exponentially. Clubs have started to be managed as international businesses, and team crests have become commonplace icons across all cultures throughout the globe. TV rights have skyrocketed, with the Premier League’s current deal agreed in 2015 worth a humbling £5.14bn.

With all this considered, the gulf in profitability between the Premier League and England’s second division, the Championship, is unnerving. The Championship is considered by many as an unpredictable league, with a handful of teams every year making a push for promotion. However, for their team to compete amongst England’s best, club owners are required to get their cheque books out.

Reports have shown that clubs that successfully achieved promotion from the Championship in recent years averaged losses of £550,000 a week. Current holders of the Championship title, Wolverhampton Wanderers, took the league by storm in 2018, ending their campaign on a colossal 99 points. However, their dominance came at a huge cost, with the West Midlands side reporting a loss of £59.7m throughout the season, an average of over a £1m loss per week.

Similarly, after Newcastle’s promotion back to the top flight in 2017, the Magpies suffered a heavy loss of £59m during their journey back to the Premier League. Add on top the current predicament of Bolton Wanderers and their financial issues regarding players wages, it is apparent that the Championship is an economic wasteland for club owners.

The reason behind such huge losses for Championship clubs seems to lie in the cost of wages and transfer fee amortisation. In 2017/18, Wolves, Birmingham City and Reading all paid more than twice as much in wages and amort than their seasonal income. With the Royals finishing in a disappointing 20th position that season, it beckons the question over the sustainability of a Championship club when promotion is out of the question and such heavy financial investment has been made.

When teams are spending so much in a push for promotion, it seems that going up is a make-or-break situation for clubs in the Championship. However, the rewards for a promoted team are staggering. During the 2017/18 season, the smallest amount of TV rights money earned by a club was the £95.4m granted to West Brom. This figure alone trumps the seasonal income of the highest-earning Championship side in the same season, with Aston Villa reportedly making an income of £68.6m.

A disheartening correlation can be found when comparing the income of clubs in the Premier League, and the losses of clubs in the Championship. The income of Premier League giants is ever-increasing, with Liverpool’s expected profits reaching the eye-watering heights of £100m after their Champions League success last season. In contrast, the combined operating loss of Championship clubs since the 2014/15 season is spiralling out of control. The combined loss of Championship clubs in 2014/15 was £288m. That number has increased annually, eventually resulting in the £391m collective loss in 2016/17.

With the Premier League increasingly becoming a profitable international franchise, should more care be taken with Championship clubs in their pursuit of top-flight football?

Sean Fisher @seanfisher1502