Reading FC – The Frustrating Demise Of A Once Premier League Club


One penalty kick. One single kick of a ball made all the difference between promotion to the Premier League, and another season of Championship football for Reading. However, for the Berkshire-based side, it’s been a slippery slope ever since their Championship Play-Off Final defeat to Huddersfield Town at Wembley in the 2016/17 season. 

Reading had been making real steps towards winning a swift promotion back into the Premier League in that campaign under the management of former Manchester United defensive powerhouse Jaap Stam, who guided the club into the play-off positions. They overcame promotion favourites Fulham in their semi-final, but were beaten on penalties by Huddersfield Town, after both Liam Moore and Jordan Obita missed their spot-kicks. 

The likes of Danny Williams left the club, and the midfielder’s energy is something that we haven’t seen much of in a Reading shirt ever since, much to the frustration of the club’s supporters. The Royals never recovered from that defeat to the Terriers at Wembley, and have been narrowly avoiding relegation into League One in recent seasons. They’re managed by Paul Ince nowadays, and the former England midfielder made a strong start to life at the Select Car Leasing Stadium, and briefly had the Royals top of the table during the first-half of the 2022/23 season. 

But a dismal run of results since the turn of the year has seen Reading plunged into a relegation dogfight, which would have been almost unthinkable earlier on in this year’s campaign. They find themselves just a single point above the relegation zone after it was announced that the club had accepted a six-point deduction for breaching the previous agreement that they had to adhere to from the EFL. This deduction comes after Reading were docked six points in the 2021/22 season, but they put together a strong run of results towards the end of that campaign, as they avoided relegation into the third-tier. 

However, this year, it could be a different scenario. Reading are a team with a threadbare squad that has been riddled with injuries, and their recent results won’t give the club’s supporters much confidence heading into the final few matches of the season. They have the worst away record in the entire Championship, and given that they’ve only won twice since the turn of the year, you can understand the club’s supporters’ irritation towards Paul Ince, who hasn’t been shy in shifting the blame onto either the players or referees all too often this season. 

Experts at MyBettingSites have revealed that Reading are priced at 20/21 on Betfair’s Betting Exchange to be relegated into League One this season, which could be a tempting bet for some bettors, especially considering the club’s poor run of results of late.

The club is arguably a relegation away from complete turmoil on and off the pitch, and you’d have to fear the worst if they were to drop into League One this term. Reading only have a  handful of players contracted at the club ahead of the 2023/24 season, and so it’s a season-defining summer transfer window ahead, regardless of which division they’re playing their football in. Some supporters have been keen to see a complete rebuild of the first-team squad in recent years, which is understandable given the eye-opening wages that some players are still earning, which has ultimately played its part in the off-field problems in terms of the mismanagement financially. 

The days of playing their football in the Premier League will feel like a distant memory to the club’s fans, and it’s hugely important that they get behind their side for the remaining matches in this year’s Championship campaign, as they’ve got a hugely important role to play, especially given that their future as a club could potentially be on the line if they were relegated into the third-tier of English football. Owner Dai Yongge has left two clubs in the past when things haven’t been going their way, and you could forgive supporters for fearing similar would happen with them at Reading, but for now, he continues to stick by the club. Relegation could potentially change his stance, but it’s vital that the players stand up and be counted now, as they’re the only ones who can change the club’s fortunes in the short-term. Dropping down a division wouldn’t be good for anyone, as you’d have to fear that they’d head more towards a Scunthorpe United-type demise, rather than an AFC Bournemouth rise, which now sees the Cherries playing their football in the top-flight. 

An interesting, but season-defining few weeks awaits Reading, and it’ll be interesting to see what the future holds for them, especially with the transfer restrictions which have been imposed on them in the last few seasons easing heading into this summer.