News and Views

Ali Al Habsi Extends Contract

05 January 2017
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Ali Al Habsi has been rewarded with his continually consistent performances with a contract extension to keep him at Reading until the summer of 2019. Al Habsi was due to be out of contract in the summer after two years with the club, but the new deal secures the services of Reading's first choice goalkeeper. There were plenty of question marks over, and critical nicknames for, Al Habsi when he arrived as seemingly second choice goalkeeper to Bond who signed at the same time. However Al Habsi more than silenced his critics by becoming Reading's main goalkeeper and deservedly winning the fans vote for player of the season last term.

Al Habsi is currently very much in the running to claim the player of the season award for a second consecutive season. He is currently second, behind Liam Moore, in the Hob Nob Anyone? man of the match voting for the season so far. Al Habsi has been named as man of the match six times so far this season on this website - more than any other player. His best performances came in the early part of the season where there was no doubt his performances earned vital points as the Royals steadied the ship and started their climb up the table.

Talking about Al Habsi committing to a new contract with Reading, Jaap Stam was full of praise for the 35 year old: "As we all know, Ali is a great goalkeeper - a fine shot stopper with good reactions who even at this stage in his career is still improving his game and becoming better and better as a player"

Wigan paid Bolton a four million pound transfer fee in 2011 for the services of Al Habsi and he went on to make well over 100 appearances before signing for Reading after four seasons at Wigan. Al Habsi has made 65 appearances for the Royals since signing - and now looks set for plenty more.

 

Discussion On This Story:

 George_

» 05 Jan 2017 16:56

Great news.

Reigning Player of the Season pens new contract until 2019

Reading Football Club are delighted to announce that goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi has signed a new contract with the Royals, keeping him at Madejski Stadium until the summer of 2019.

A vastly experienced stopper, Al Habsi joined the club on a two-year deal in July 2015 and the former Bolton Wanderers and Wigan Athletic keeper has won a lot of fans with some magnificent performances between the posts in the 65 starts he has earned as a Royal to date.

Our Omani international deservedly won the Player of the Season accolade at the end of his first season at Madejski Stadium and he has continued his heroic form under Jaap Stam in 2016-17, keeping eight clean sheets so far this season.

“As we all know, Ali is a great goalkeeper - a fine shot stopper with good reactions who even at this stage in his career is still improving his game and becoming better and better as a player," Stam said.

"He is very calm on the ball which is important to us, especially in the way we want to play out from the back at Reading. And just as important to this group...Ali is a great person with a very good mentality. So we are all very happy that he has signed another deal at the club."

Born in a village on the outskirts of Muscat, Al Habsi began his career with hometown club Al Midhaibi before making the step up with Al Nasr and winning the Sultan Qaboos Cup.

The 6’4” stopper was spotted by former goalkeeper John Burridge, who was working as a coach with the Oman national team and European football beckoned with Norwegian First Division side Lyn Oslo.

After three successful years in Norway, he signed for Bolton Wanderers in January 2006, playing Premier League and UEFA Cup football at the Reebok before making the permanent switch to Wigan Athletic in 2011 - after a successful loan season as the Latics’ number one and Player of the Year the previous season.

The 35-year-old, who became a dad again earlier this season, helped Reading reach an FA Cup quarter-final in his first campaign at Madejski Stadium, his acrobatics also ensuring the Royals staved off any threat of relegation with some memorable performances in the Championship last season.

Captain of his country, Al Habsi has accrued in excess of 100 international caps as an Omani national hero and he has proved an outstanding ambassador for the club during his time in Berkshire and continues to act as a shining example for the sport out in his native Oman.

Chief Executive Nigel Howe commented, “As our supporters have witnessed, Ali is a fantastic goalkeeper and his performances in the last year and a half have certainly merited this new contract at the club. As both a professional and a person, he is a real credit to our club and I am very pleased he has agreed to this new deal.”

 WoodleyRoyal

» 05 Jan 2017 16:58

bad move imo, should have been looking to get rid at the end of the season.

 TBM

» 05 Jan 2017 16:59



It gives Bond and BeardBloke time to get better though - so not all bad....

 AthleticoSpizz

» 05 Jan 2017 17:00

Excellent......don't think that another contract was ever in too much doubt.

 kwik-silva

» 05 Jan 2017 17:02

Excellent news - worst that happens is that he drops down to the bench and Anssi or Bond comes in.

 genome

» 05 Jan 2017 17:12

Just by-the-by. Ali's Twitter follower count is :shock:

The club's highest?

 Royal Ginger

» 05 Jan 2017 17:18

Very happy with this. He's done his job well since he got over his wobble at the beginning of last season.

 Hendo

» 05 Jan 2017 17:18



National hero in Oman though.

Good deal for the club, if a new keeper does come in/Jakola becomes 1st choice, I would be very confident with AAH as a number 2 to come in for injuries/cup games.

 Silver Fox

» 05 Jan 2017 17:20




adds WoodleyRoyal to list of posters whose opinions can be ignored

 Woodcote Royal

» 05 Jan 2017 17:23



Meanwhile, back on planet earth, only the unhinged amongst us will not be thanking their lucky stars that last years player of the season has agreed to stay.

No one has come close to this guy since Marcus.

 From Despair To Where?

» 05 Jan 2017 17:30

To be honest, I thought he'd move on but his form has been excellent and he's a good influence within the squad so pretty positive news.

 RoyalBlue

» 05 Jan 2017 17:35



Meanwhile, back on planet earth, only the unhinged amongst us will not be thanking their lucky stars that last years player of the season has agreed to stay.

No one has come close to this guy since Marcus.

As an all round keeper who would have been much more suited to our build from the back style, Federici did. McCarthy was also an excellent keeper but suffered a similar weakness to AAH when it came to passing and kicking a football.

That having been said, pleased to see AAH commit albeit that he may well be the reserve keeper next year, particularly if we were to get promoted.

Incidentally, I think there sadly may be reasons (not of his doing/making), other than his footballing ability, that prevent Bond from fulfilling his full potential.


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