Another season has reached its end and, with it, a number of contracts at every level of the club have also come to their conclusions.
From the first team squad, we’d like to wish the very best of luck to forward Sone Aluko, striker Sam Baldock, goalkeeper Sam Walker and full-back Tennai Watson who leave the club this summer at the end of their contracts with the Royals.
32-year-old Baldock scored eleven goals in 73 appearances in his three seasons in RG2, while Aluko – also 32 - made 102 appearances for Reading, scoring six goals in his four seasons in blue and white hoops.
Walker spent much of this season out on loan in League One with Blackpool and AFC Wimbledon respectively and now leaves the club at the end of his three years as a Royal, while 24-year-old full-back Tennai Watson came through our Academy ranks to make his first team debut against Preston North End back in August 2016 – he too will look to take the next step in his career away from his roots in Berkshire.
Michael Morrison, however, will remain a Royal until 2022!
The centre-back, who made the move to RG2 in 2019 after five seasons at Birmingham City, has mutually agreed with the club to activate an extension clause in his contract to stay at Madejski Stadium for another year.
Morro has made a staggering 82 appearances for the club during those two years to date. After two goals in his maiden Royals season, he has chipped in with a further four this year over the course of 36 games – all important ones too! He grabbed the only goal of the game away at Rotherham, planted in headers against Cardiff City and Nottingham Forest… and channelled his inner-Maradona to convert an audacious solo effort away at Bristol City!
That’s not to mention some stellar contributions in his ‘day-job’ as a strong centre-back – leading the team, helping the side to a total of 17 clean-sheets so far this season, while fulfilling the role of a model professional around the club. We’re delighted that Morro is now set for a third season in the hoops.
Naturally, we would like to thank Alfa Semedo, Tomas Esteves and Lewis Gibson for their contributions to the club during their loan spells at Madejski Stadium this season– all three will return to their parent clubs this summer.
But goalkeeper Luke Southwood put pen to paper at the end of last week on a new contract that keeps him at Reading until 2023 – making his league debut the following day for the first team. And contract offers have also been issued to defenders Tom McIntyre and Omar Richards, whose deals are currently due to expire next month.
Amongst our Under-23s group, we have offered new deals to striker Thierry Nevers, goalkeeper James Holden and forward Femi Azeez, while left-back Ethan Bristow remains at the club after a clause in his current contract was mutually triggered.
Ryan East, Conor Lawless, Olly Pendlebury, Jayden Onen and Sam Smith have all previously featured for our first team but will seek a new challenge away from the club next season, while Joseph Ajose, Josh Hewitt, Omri Luzon and Augustus McGiff have also been released.
Alfie Anderson, Jordan Hamilton-Olise and Yaw Turkson leave the club at the end of their scholarships as part of our Under-18s reshuffle. Everyone at Reading Football Club would like to wish all those leaving us the very best of luck in their future careers.
We have, however, offered professional contracts to a number of scholars who we look forward to seeing develop their careers within our Under-23s set-up; Irish midfielder Kian Leavy, goalkeeper Harvey Collins, and striker Kelvin Ehibhatiomhan have all been offered pro deals with the Royals, as have midfielder Malachi Talent-Aryeety and winger Lynford Sackey – who, aged only 17, came off the bench to represent the first team in the Carabao Cup at the start of this season.
As the manager said after Saturday’s first team finale, next season starts for everyone from this moment onwards. And we look forward to celebrating our 150th anniversary with our fans in 2021-22.