News and Views
Light At The End Of The Tunnel
04 December 2018
By Adam Jones
There has not been much to shout about over the past eighteen months for the Royals after their play-off Final defeat against Huddersfield Town. Near relegation and turmoil in the boardroom has left the club in a mess. After Chief Executive Ron Gourlay's departure, could there be light at the end of this dark tunnel at Reading Football Club?
Andy Rinomhota and Danny Loader have both been given chances recently. This might be the start of forming a club identity that is known for putting faith in academy players. There are few things that are more satisfying in football than seeing 'one of your own' going on to make first team appearances for the club.
I have been incredibly impressed with Rinomhota, being signed from non-league side AFC Portchester. His energy and forward runs have been incredibly encouraging for the fans. His superb televised performance at Elland Road against Leeds United emphasised this. This signing is proving to be a real coup by Reading, a 2005-06-eque signing. We had several cheap gems that we unearthed in that season, including Kevin Doyle, Shane Long and Stephen Hunt. Danny Loader is another youngster who has recently been included in the first team. Featuring regularly for England at youth level, he has the potential to go on and make himself a big name in the footballing world if he carries on his rapid development.
Both Rinomhota and Loader did not look out of their depth at Championship level, and this is something that could encourage Paul Clement to put even more faith in youth. We are clearly proud of our academy system, having a category one status and seeing a number of former graduates go on to play in the Premier League. This pride was emphasised on Saturday with the unveiling of an academy board, displaying all the academy graduates that have gone on to make a senior appearance for the first team.
One of the most exciting things about this academy board is the fact that there is more room on the display for more players to go on and make it to the first team, providing an inspiration to the younger players who have not yet had the honour to play a senior game. Scottish youth international Tom McIntyre was on the bench for the Royals after injuries to Paul McShane, Liam Moore and John O'Shea. He will be hoping to be the next player that makes it on that board.
With the departure of Ron Gourlay, Nigel Howe has been re-appointed as the CEO on a temporary basis. Whilst I think we need to move forward, it is reassuring that we have Howe back in charge for the short term, to provide some stability after a rocky eighteen months. He was there on Saturday for the academy display unveiling. Co-majority shareholder Dai Xiu Li was also present at the unveiling. This is very encouraging considering that the owners have been rarely seen since they bought the club back in May 2017. In a club statement from Ms Dai, she stated that herself and Howe will run the club on a day-to-day basis temporarily. It is so reliving to hear that Dai Xi Li has a more hands-on role at the club, at this moment in time. Whether this will continue after the appointment of a new CEO remains to be seen.
The release of this club statement was such a small thing, but it makes a huge difference. The fact that the owners are aware that Reading fans need a club statement from them shows that they are interested in taking this club forward now, if they were not already before.
Now to on the pitch matters, the fact that Reading now have the fighting spirit to come back from a losing position in the dying seconds shows that we have a bit of fight. No matter how poor our squad is at this moment in time, we have the ability to come back to claim crucial points. If we can somehow turn some of these draws in to wins, we could be on course for a more encouraging second half to the season.
Are we starting to get our club back? Perhaps this is the start of it.
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