News and Views

Negotiations Continue As Clearout Gathers Pace

22 May 2015
By Hob Nob Anyone?

There's no huge news on contracts as the club begin talks with players they are looking to retain. As widely expected Yakubu, Zat Knight, Jure Travner and Danny Guthrie will not be offered new contracts by the club. Yakubu, Knight and Travner only signed on temporary contracts and didn't do anything to suggest they would be offered a new deal. The only real memory produced by those three players was by Yakubu when he came off the bench and scored the winning goal at Derby County to continue Reading's FA Cup run.

Danny Guthrie was rumoured to be a big earner and was out of favour with new manager Steve Clarke - and wasn't that popular under previous managers. It had seemed like his days were numbered for quite some time and that was essentially confirmed when he finished the season on loan at Fulham. Guthrie arrived on a free transfer three years ago and went on to make 69 appearances for the Royals scoring five goals. His form was hit and miss and now he finds himself set to join another club on a free transfer. Back in 2008 Newcastle paid Liverpool 2.5 million pounds for his services but he failed to live up to the hype with the Royals.

It was confirmed earlier this month that Ryan Edwards would not be offered a contract. Edwards was set to be the next big thing last season and broke into the first team at the start of the season, making ten appearances. However, his last appearance was back in October 2014 before he disappeared from the first team squad.

Perhaps the one big surprise is the impending departure of Mikkel Andersen. The club haven't confirmed that Andersen won't be getting a contract but they haven't said that talks are on-going with the player. Andersen has spent the whole season as understudy to the impressive Adam Federici. He did manage five appearances for the Royals last season, conceding nine goals in four defeats and a single clean sheet in the FA Cup victory at Huddesfield. Young goalkeepers Dan Lincoln and Jonathan Henly are not expected to have their contracts renewed - which means Clarke will have to find a back-up goalkeeper from somewhere - and that assumes that Adam Federici stays at the club.

Adam Federici is negotiating terms of a new deal with the club and looks likely to stay at the moment. Perhaps the results of his negotiations will determine if Andersen is offered a new contract to keep him at the club. Jem Karacan made a successful come back from injury towards the end of the season and has done enough for the club to offer a new contract. Alex Pearce and Stephen Kelly have also been offered new contracts - with Kelly being the only real surprise of a player that the club are trying to keep hold of.

Dominic Samuel spent the second half of the season on loan at League One Coventry City where he scored his first senior goals - he grabbed six goals in thirteen appearances and did enough to grab attention and earn himself a contract extension with the Royals. The re-signing of players like Samuel and the departure of Yakubu gives a good signal of where the club are heading as they look to trim the squad, and the wage bill, and re-structure for the new campaign after a disappointing showing in the league last season.

End Of Season Awards - Vote Now

22 May 2015
By Hob Nob Anyone?

It's that time of year again - before the 2014/2015 season fades into memory make sure you place your votes in the annual Hob Nob Anyone? End of Season Awards. With the exception of the FA Cup run, that saw Reading reach the FA Cup semi-final for only their second time in history, the season was quite forgettable - so make sure you place your votes now.

The awards have been running for 20 years to allow Reading fans to vote on-line for the player of the season, most improved player, best performance and worst performance of the season. Previous winners of our on-line poll have included Scott Howie, Darren Caskey and Phil Parkinson. If you'd like to delve into a bit of history use the links on the bottom of the voting form after you've placed your votes.

It's unusual for season predictions to be right, but this time last year 61% of Reading fans predicted a midtable finish for Reading. And that was pretty much how it finished with relegation never a serious threat, despite a shockingly poor run of league form in the final half of the season.

Jordan Obita scooped both the awards for player of the season and most improved player last time around - but who will get your vote this season? Vote now!

FPA Launch 5-a Side Community Tournament

20 May 2015
By Hob Nob Anyone?

The Reading FC Former Players' Association (Reading FC FPA) are launching their inaugural Charity 5-A-Side Tournament this summer.

The Tournament will be held at 'Goals' Soccer Centre, Woodlands Avenue Woodley on Saturday, 13th June from 1.30pm to 4.30pm.

It is expected that 24 teams from local companies and organisations will be taking part in Trophy and Plate competitions.

Reading FC FPA has been raising money for local and national good causes since 1997 and this year has chosen to support the local charity, Launchpad. Launchpad is Reading's Homeless Support Charity and has been helping vulnerable and disadvantaged people in Reading for over 35 years. All monies raised by this tournament will benefit this vital local cause.

The Reading FC FPA are grateful to local businesses Field Seymour Parks Solicitors; Macbeth Insurance; Handelsbanken, Reading and Vale & West Accountants.

Organisers George Friel and Kate Parkinson, representing the Reading FPA, have a great deal of experience in organising such events, having organised the Duchess of Kent 5-a-side corporate event at Prospect Park for a number of years.

Friel, a former Reading FC player says, "The tournament is open to any company, organisation or group who wish to take part. The administration of the event is very professional and our hosts, 'Goals', have great facilities and will provide a great afternoons competition and entertainment. We hope to attract 24 teams from the local community who will be able to enjoy a great day of football whilst supporting a worthwhile local charity. To add to the excitement the winning team will play a former Reading FC 'Legends' team to round off the tournament"

If you wish to take part, go to www.readingfcformerplayers.co.uk/5aside for further information and an entry form.

Royals End Season With Shock Away Win

02 May 2015
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Reading wrapped up the 2014/2015 season with a shock 3-0 victory at Derby County. Everyone expected another defeat to nill, but instead Reading cruised to a comfortable win against a side that needed just a single point to confirm their play-off finish. Instead of another Reading defeat we ended a run of nine games without a victory with one of our best results of the entire season.

Derby, against all the odds, suffered a painful finish to the season as they slipped out of the top six at home against a Reading side they expected to offer little resistance. The 3-0 scoreline didn't flatter the Royals who were good for their win and actually deserved to finish the season on a minor high after such a dismal run of form. The victory will be a big boost for the players and manager Steve Clarke who was just starting to feel the pressure ahead of the summer break.

Before this match Reading had only managed to score two goals in their last six matches. Scoring three in one game - away from home and when the match was of such importance to the home team was way outside anyone's predictions. As expected Clarke fielded a strong time, but a few unavailable players allowed Appiah and Stacey to make rare starts. It started well for Reading and continued that way. After just two minutes Appiah picked up the ball on the half way line after getting in the way of a poor Derby pass. Appiah sprinted the remaining length of the pitch turned past a defender in the Derby box before slotting a quality finish past the keeper to make it 1-0. The goal was a bit of a gift from Derby but extremely well taken by the loan player probably playing his last match for the Royals.

The expected onslaught didn't happen as Reading remained at ease in a even first half. Oliver Norwood had a decent effort from a free-kick that saw a decent save from the Derby keeper. Federici made two good saves to keep Reading ahead, one was perhaps heading wide but the other was a great stop. One negative point saw Jack Stacey limp off. However his injury allowed Tarique Fosu to make his Reading debut from the substitutes bench.

At the end of the first half Derby won a penalty when Jordan Obita clearly wrapped his arm around Russell inside the area. At that point Reading fans would be forgiven for expecting the worst - an equaliser and Reading to probably collapse in the second half. However Bent's penalty kick was well saved by Adam Federici to set Reading up nicely for the second half.

After the break Reading improved further and Derby struggled to get into the match. The early exchanges in the second half saw Reading dominate possession and it was hard to believe it was Reading down at the wrong end of the table. Fosu was clearly enjoying playing for the senior squad and was lively and made a real nuisance of himself. He was unlucky not to get on the scoresheet with a series of efforts both on target and off. He could also be forgiven for having a shot when he would have been better to have passed to the unmarked Karacan who would have been certain to put Reading further ahead.

Reading did make it 2-0 on 72 minutes after winning a corner on the left. The ball wasn't dealt with by the Derby defence and it allowed Michael Hector to score from well inside the area. Derby fans started heading for the exits and Reading continued to look comfortable. With five minutes left to play, Karacan, who was playing a forward role, broke into the box and went down after contact from Grant when he took the ball wide. Garath McCleary stepped up and sent the keeper the wrong way to make it 3-0 and wrap up an excellent, and very unexpected, away victory.