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Fixture News

New faces in the Championship - Part 1!

A look at the three teams to join the second tier from the Premier League in 2018-19

4 June 2018

As with every season, there will be some new grounds for Reading fans to possibly tick off on their travels!

Club News

Jon Dadi features in penultimate World Cup warm-up match

4 June 2018

Three Premier League clubs have dropped back into the second tier for the upcoming campaign, each with a point to prove as the Championship takes shape for another fiercely competitive season.

All three teams had long stays in the top flight, and will have to adjust quickly to the rigours of Championship football once more for when the season gets underway at the start of August.

Stoke City

Founded: 1863
Nickname: The Potters
Ground: The Bet365 Stadium
Capacity: 30,089
Manager: Gary Rowett

Stoke's decade-long stay in the Premier League was ended after a tough campaign saw them finish 19th in the table in 2017-18. 

Having been promoted automatically in 2007-08, the Potters quickly established themselves as a sturdy mid-table finisher in the Premier League. Some of their major flashpoints of their top tier tenure included a run to the FA Cup Final in 2011 and a subsequent Europa League campaign that saw them into the knockout stages, eventually losing out to Valencia over two legs.

Three consecutive top-half finishes in the table showed the Potters' consistency and fine form in the league, but they declined to finish 13th in 2016-17, before a difficult run of results led to Mark Hughes' dismissal after a four-and-a-half year spell in charge. 

Paul Lambert was brought in to try and turn the club's fortunes around, but ultimately could not keep them safe in the Premier League and left after the season came to a close. 

The club's hierarchy acted quickly, though, in securing the services of Derby County boss, Gary Rowett, to head up the squad as they return to the Championship and look to mount a challenge from the off. 

Meetings between the sides have been few and far between in the last decade as a result, with our last league encounters coming back in 2012-13, when the Royals' Premier League campaign kicked off against Stoke at Madejski Stadium with a 1-1 draw, courtesy of a stoppage-time penalty from Adam Le Fondre levelling matters on the day.

Swansea City

Founded: 1912
Nicknames: The Swans, The Jacks
Ground: The Liberty Stadium
Capacity: 21,088
Manager: TBC

Swansea became the first Welsh side to take a place in the Premier League after their promotion from the Championship, invoking painful memories for Reading fans after an agonising 4-2 defeat in the Play-Off final in 2011.

An all-round successful spell followed in the top tier for the Swans, though, finishing 11th in their first Premier League campaign and earning the respect of the division along the way.

They also picked up their first major trophy in England, defeating League Two side, Bradford City, at Wembley to earn the League Cup and bring silverware back to the Liberty Stadium as they celebrated their centenary season as a club in 2013.

A famous 3-0 victory against Valencia at the imposing Mestalla followed in their debut Europa League campaign, and continued their consistent finishes in the Premier League.

Swansea were at Madejski Stadium as recently as last season, with Paul Clement leading the Swans to a 2-0 win against the Royals in a feisty affair in the third round of the Carabao Cup, having also guided Swansea out of the relegation zone in the 2016-17 season.

Clement will be renewing acquaintances with his former employers when the teams meet next term, with the clubs set to lock horns in the league for the first time since 2013.

West Bromwich Albion

Founded: 1878
Nickname: The Baggies
Ground: The Hawthorns
Capacity: 26,688
Manager: Darren Moore

After several years of going back and forth between the Premier League and Championship, West Brom were promoted in 2010-11 and stayed in the top flight for eight seasons, before their relegation was confirmed towards the end of last season.

The Baggies' squad is still awash with Premier League experience, including former Royal, Hal Robson-Kanu, and they will be hoping to mount a significant promotion challenge at the first attempt next season.

Reading last met West Brom in the FA Cup, causing an upset against the full-strength Premier League side by running out 3-1 winners at Madejski Stadium, coming from behind and sending the Royals through to the quarter-finals of the competition.

Having impressed during a short spell as manager towards the end of the season, scooping the Premier League Manager of the Month award in the process, Darren Moore will be taking the reins at The Hawthorns as he hopes to mastermind a promotion push in the West Midlands.

 


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