Since the start of 2019, we’ve achieved the short-term objectives we aimed to achieve. Together.
We managed to get this group of players playing good football as a team, fighting tooth and nail for every point to earn positive results under a manager who has been a real catalyst in uniting everyone within the club.
The players demonstrated that they were willing to adapt, learn, scrap and battle for this club. It’s not been easy, but we now go into the last day of the season secure in our Championship status for 2019-20.
When I resumed the CEO role in December, I inherited a number of significant club issues which urgently needed to be addressed. As a priority, we had to immediately get to grips with the costs and complications of an over-sized first team squad, whilst conducting some shrewd business in the loan market during an extremely busy January transfer window. These were imperative measures to take.
Our owners are ambitious. And they would very much like to invest further in our first team…but, at present, it’s just not that simple under the EFL’s Profit and Sustainability regulations.
I expect this summer’s transfer window will be even busier than the last. Our challenge right now must be to reduce the size and cost of the first team squad to meet Profit and Sustainability targets - so we will see even more player movement in the coming weeks and months than we achieved back in January. Only then can we continue to move this club forward.
José will naturally be at the heart of this process and we will all be working extremely hard in the coming months to balance our figures and secure the stability we need to establish a talented, hungry squad of players ready to tackle 2019-20 head on and challenge in the top half of the table rather than scrapping for survival. We have a big summer ahead of us.
Results are what the club is measured by in the main, but they can never be guaranteed. However, I can commit to some things. Perhaps, recently, as a club we lost our way a little. It will now be our collective aim - myself, my staff and with the help of our supporters - to reinject our identity into all we do.
We must continue to connect with our community, actively engage with local business, embrace and celebrate our history whilst aspiring to great things in our future. And it has to be our objective to shout about this great club, its thriving Community Trust, its Category One Academy, its burgeoning Women’s team and our shared values - to tell our story to a wider community, engaging with new supporters and making a positive impact on the town of Reading, its community and beyond.
Our loyal supporters have the very best interests of this club at heart and are also rightly our harshest critics; we will continue to listen and learn from you, our fans.
And, on that note, thank you. The way you have rallied at Madejski Stadium to support the team with such passion…it’s real credit to our fanbase and the whole Reading Football Club community.
From the stands, supporters nor staff can score the goals that will win us games next season, but we can all strive to create a positive environment for those who can - the players out in the middle. The Club 1871 project has been a shining example of that - a modest but defiantly encouraging group of fans setting up camp in our South Stand which has grown and evolved over the last year. The East Stand continued to make its presence felt, loud and proud, while the Eamonn Dolan Stand came alive with clap banners in the Family Area. Encouragement was coming from all four sides of Madejski Stadium as you got right behind your team when times were tough to create a truly positive atmosphere here. Long may that last.