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Anton speaks in-depth

28 April 2013

Owner reflects on top flight year

Owner Anton Zingarevich spoke to the media after the QPR game, and he says the club will learn the lessons of our relegation back to the Football League, and aim to come back stronger.

Anton has been very pleased with our progression under Nigel Adkins – and is looking forward to the brightest possible future under the new boss.

Anton, very contrasting emotions to when we were here this time last season.

Definitely, this is the other side of the coin. But it is what it is and we just have to come back for more. We're going to regroup, we're going to bounce back and hopefully give it a good push next season.

What are you going to do to do that?
We've been working the whole year. Definitely we need to give the manager all of the tools that he needs. We'll sit down and be specific about what we want to do. But we've been working from last summer really, so we know where we want to be.

Do you have significant regrets about signings?
If we were able to sign some players in January, yes we didn't spend at the end because we couldn't close the deals, but there were four or five deals that we were trying to pursue but obviously they haven't played out. There's no point looking back to last summer or this winter, we want to learn how to make it work.

But you can learn from those experiences?
Oh definitely. Generally, it's not just about the money spent, it's been a learning experience for many at the club, because we hadn't been in the Premier League for a long time. Yes we got relegated, but I think now we know more about what needs to be done for us to stay here for a good time. We failed as a group and that's how it is.

Where do you feel it went wrong?
You can't single out one thing, it's a combination of things. We started off the season quite well but just couldn't get the first win, which is essential - and I think that damaged confidence quite a bit, not being able to win the first game in this league. And then in January we tried to sign players but obviously it didn't really work. We should have signed one or two players but in the end we couldn't pull the deals off.

When you look back on sacking McDermott - do you have any regrets?
I think the opposite. From the way we have performed, from the first game that Nigel came in to today, I think it's a completely different performance. We were holding the ball, controlling the ball well, passing it, we're moving it - for me we are going in the right direction in terms of the football. That was the intention, not to give the manager eight games to either stay up or not stay up, it doesn't matter - the intent was that he understands what team he has so he has enough time to go for the players that we want to go for. Otherwise he comes to the summer and he has to start from the beginning. The intent was for him to come in early.

We thought we had a good chance of staying up, and like you saw today we were a bit unlucky and perhaps we should have got the three points. But it's football, it never is how it's supposed to be. Of course one of the factors for me was the manager being able to understand what team he has.

Brian McDermott supporters would point to the fact that five games into the Nigel Adkins reign he's still looking for his first win.
It doesn't matter who supports who. It's Reading Football Club, I don't really care who supports which manager individually, we're all supporting the club. That's the only thing we should be thinking of, is that we have a new manager who I have total faith in. And most people can see what we are trying to do and it shows on the pitch.

In twelve months’ time, bearing in mind the emotional swing we've had in the last twelve months, we could well be there again.
On one side I agree, but on the other side, those memories are still fresh from the end of last season. We know where we're not good enough in terms of playing in the Premier League and we know what we need to do to get up from the Championship.

QPR have spent, Reading are financially secure, how is the budget looking back on this season?
For sure we're in a good place, obviously not as good as last season, but the club was run in a certain way and that's how it's going to be run in the future. The new TV deal brings Premier League sides help but we'll come back in 12 months.

How much will relegation have cost RFC?
It's good money that would have come in, but I don't really want to think about what would have happened. We're quite focused on the way the club is right now and we know what we want to achieve in the next 12 months.

In Nigel Adkins did you bring in a manager who knows what it takes to get out of the Championship?
Definitely, it was one of the factors that I was thinking about when I was appointing a manager. But it's not just that, it's the way he is as a manager and he's a really, really good coach - and that was important because given the squad that we had this year, I think we could have got much more out of them. And that was the biggest problem and perhaps the biggest disappointment this season, because I felt the players we have in this team, given the chance and if worked with properly, they could have got us better results.

Will there be serious investment in the summer?

We need to sit down with the manager and understand what his wishes are in terms of the current group and then work out what needs to be done. For me it's not the amount that decides anything, it's how you spend it. We need to go out and sign the right players for us, but also good deals, like any investment, getting the player in is an investment, so you have to be very cautious in terms of picking the right deals. It's the way that we're run. At the end it's not all about the money as well, as we saw today right. So we have done it in a certain way, it could have been done differently, but that's the way we do things here. We'll regroup, make ourselves better in the summer and push on next season.

What is your message to supporters?

It's not all about one season. The supporters have been sticking with us for a number of years, and there are new supporters all the time as we have been growing this fanbase. Just keep supporting and we'll try to do better than this season.

The fans are the most important part of the football club. The fans make it a football club. Without fans, there is no club. They've stuck with us all season and they're probably even more disappointed than I am because they come and spend money watching football. They don't really get inside the club to know where we are. Everybody has their own questions about what has been done and what hasn't been done, but I'd like to assure our fans that next season we will have a stronger team and we will definitely push.

I have been looking at the training sessions and we are in a good place to be honest. The game against Norwich was the first game this season that we've had over 50% possession. We didn't win the game because we're not really ruthless yet in the final third, and today I thought we did really well. It was a good game, obviously the two sides were edgy because of the circumstances - but in general, I think we did pretty well today and we should have won. But the confidence is not there yet for us to win the games. We just have to build on each performance and move forward. That's the approach the manager has and it's really important for me.

We just want to be in the Premier League. I had the trophy already, and now the goal is to get established in the Premier League. It may be funny saying it as we've been relegated, but we know what needs to be done for us to be an established Premier League team and it's something we're working on with all the staff in the club.

The good thing, as I said, is that I feel pretty confident because I have the right manager. I really believe we have the right manager and I can work closely with him to build this club and make sure we are in the Premier League.

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