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Club News

Lady Sasima speaks in depth

29 August 2015

Shareholder discusses key Royals topics

Royals shareholder Lady Sasima Srivikorn has spoken about her passion for the club, plans for the future and much more in a recent round of interviews with media here in Berkshire. Read on for an insight.

…on Reading…
The name Reading hit me when I first heard it as I used to study in England in Guildford and I knew Reading pretty well when it was a small town. So I told the group to ‘count me in.’ I have done quite a lot of things in my life in terms of business, it’s been quite diverse, but I never thought I would be an owner of a football club. I love football, but to own a football club was quite far-fetched for me. I believe in fate and when I heard I knew I wanted to own it.

When I came to the Club I had just lost my husband and my life became empty, I needed something to cheer me up and I figured out football is a good answer. I never thought about profit or loss at that point, I thought it might be something exciting and challenging for me to do at this time of my life. I know some people have lost money on the club, I know Sir John did, and some people make money, but that is part of business. Profit is not the motivation.

Real estate, manufacturing, hotel, I can call them businesses, when it comes to football it's something else, but the excitement is sometimes a bit too much for my age!

Of my fellow shareholders, Sumrith is in the garment industry, he sells shirts, sports shirts, that kind of thing. Narin is in the tuna industry and owns a tuna company called TUF which is a public company, he is a great guy. I had not met them before and the most surprising thing is they are young enough to be my sons! The Leeds game was actually the first time we all have watched a Reading game together.

A lot of foreigners come in to buy football clubs and some of them make a mess of it and some make a good thing of it. People may think ‘we don’t know what sort of group you are, whether you are going to come for long or short term. Whether it will be like a hit and run.’ I can say, we will be passionate and love the club. We have a good team, a very dedicated team to straighten things up and clean up the mess when we came in.

…the people of Reading…
Having been to Reading a few times I have come to understand the culture in this town, it is very different to California or New York or wherever I go around the world. It’s a town that people feel they belong to and they love their club. I can feel the passion, sentiment and love for the club.

What I have learned about the people of Reading? They are humble, polite and very pleasant. I love my neighbours, everybody I meet in restaurants and other places are wonderful and I get the impression people here care for and love their community. This club is wonderful and there is an amazing spirit.

We feel like we are part of Reading society. We want to help to grow Reading, and help it to shine with all of its possibilities, something like a second London. It has great potential. Football needs a lot of money. You need to have deep pockets. If we can make money from real estate, of course we can help to promote the club.

…the staff at Reading…
All the people at the club who were working for Sir John, they love their job and this type of thing is not easy to find in business. There is a lot of dedication. We brought in new staff to help Steve Clarke this summer, and the people who were in those jobs before them also gave everything to help the Club. Their loyalty and dedication helped get the Club to where it is today.

…the town of Reading…
The more I look at the town and the more I hear about it with CrossRail coming the more excited I am. London is jammed and people are moving out of London to come somewhere because it is too expensive. As a business person it’s a very good idea to look for the alternative and look for a second London. Geographically we are close to Heathrow and London and get most places very easily. We did not know anything about the developments like CrossRail before we bought the club, but it came as a great package.

…on the team…
There are still plans for signings. My friend is flying all over the world looking, they are not easy to find, and everyone wants good players. Their [strikers] price is unbelievable, we want to find the right one and we are still looking. But buying players is not the only answer, I am not a football expert but you need to bring them together, get their spirit up and have cohesion in the squad and I am sure Steve is doing that. If investors are buying more players it is not the only answer. I know the fans like to see new players, but they have to be really good. Our football department are working for the best players for our investment, which is not easy.

…on the future…
We would all like to see Reading return to the Premier League, I do also, but to be there and to come back down again is not so much fun. We came down with a lot of debt and we went there and bought players that we could not afford, and could not keep up their performance, and then we were in trouble. So we have to think of these scenarios and carefully, slowly try to work out the solution.

…on Bearwood…
With the training ground it is important we have a good training ground for our players and our kids, which are part of one of the best Academies in England. We want to encourage our own players if we can and give them everything they need.

…on Thailand…
We have lots of ideas about the Reading brand and building it in Thailand. To be successful we have to win a lot, I think we have to make it to the Premier League to make it big in Thailand. At home we have wonderful people, food, scenery. Right now we're trying to promote Thai food in the hotel here! My family bought it, and I believe the food is popular now.

…on her new Reading FC song…
A group of us wrote the song together, the wording itself tells what we want to say, we came when the odds were against us, everything was chaotic and we are managing it to eventually reach our heights. All of this is a statement we want to give to the listener as well as the players, and the supporters that though we are not having the best of times yet. We have had some great things happen, we can expect greater things, but I ask people of Reading do not expect anything less than greatness. We will walk together.

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