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Club News

Chairman In-Depth

24 April 2013

Sir John Madejski interview

Royals Chairman Sir John Madejski has reflected on our Barclays Premier League campaign, looking back on the highs and lows of the top flight season.

With four games to go, he is of course realistic about our chances of survival, but will not give up the ghost completely until anything is confirmed, saying, "It's not over until the fat lady sings and she's not singing just yet.

"Of course it would take something very special indeed for us not to be playing in the Championship next season. Funny things happen in football and if I don't have the belief as Chairman then how can I expect anyone else to have it? So I'd never condemn Reading until anything is confirmed.

This is our third Premier League season in our 142-year history, and Sir John continued, "Reading always punches way above its weight and will continue to do so. Everybody plays their part in that, from the receptionists on the front desk to owner Anton Zingarevich.

"Having been promoted twice to the Premier League is no mean feat and I'd like to think under my stewardship we've done quite a lot, and now with Anton. Bearing in mind it's the fourth-oldest club in the country, established in 1871, everyone has done a marvellous job over time and it's all about teamwork.

"We've been successful growing our own, and we've always bought shrewdly with young people coming through. Well, I say they're young, that's just because I'm so old! Gylfi is a great example of course. The point is that we do very well considering who we are and what we are. I'm very proud of that."

Looking back on the change of manager last month, Sir John told the Standard, "Anton is football mad but it wasn't a spur of the moment thing. Everybody knows it's all about winning. If managers don't win they can expect to leave, in spite of any previous record, it's why they get paid good money. 

"I'm very happy with Nigel Adkins, he's very enthusiastic and motivating the team, and I'm delighted Anton owns the club because it's not for the faint-hearted."

Asked about our long-term view, he said, "The 'Reading Way' is talked about within the industry, perhaps I'm being romantic but people know what it means. We built things brick on brick, we've never gone for quick fixes because they don't always work out. And now financial fair play is coming in and we are pleased because we voted in favour of it.

"What I have appreciated over the years is that players don't always work out. It's 50/50 whether it works and it can be an expensive pastime. When it comes to buying players, unless it has six zeros on it then the press aren't interested in reporting it, by and large. 

"I mentioned Gylfi earlier, we tried to get him back in January, if Tottenham had bought a player they wanted then we could have got him, but their deal never consumated. Would he have made a difference? Who knows."

Relegation would of course come as a major disappointment to all concerned, and the Chairman added, "Overall we've had great times here and I think the community appreciates the club. The football club is the focal point of a community. You can build cities, change Reading into a city and so forth, but this is organic and people can relate to it, it's always something to be part of."

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