Thames Sports Investment confident Anton Zingarevich will be a hit with Reading fans

Published: 27 Jan 2012 12:300 comments

THAMES Sports Investment's Chris Samuelson is confident Reading supporters will quickly warm to new owner Anton Zingarevich.

Family friend: Chris Samuelson of Thames Sports Investment has known the Zingarevich family for years.
Pic: CHRIS FORSEY.

The 29-year-old Russian is spearheading the proposed takeover of the Royals.

But Zingarevich, whose family made a fortune in the timber and paper business, cannot enter the UK at present while he attempts to obtain a visa.

Nevertheless, Zingarevich has close ties to the area having attended Bearwood College near Wokingham.

And during his adulthood in Berkshire, he even paid to go through the turnstile at Reading's old ground Elm Park before the relocation to Madejski Stadium in 1998.

Samuelson explained: "Anton is 29 years old, intelligent and well educated.

"His dream was to find a football club that he could back and he could help grow.

"He has a natural connection to Reading. He went to Bearwood and speaks impeccable English. This was a very good fit.

"He is extremely knowledgeable on the subject of football, but he is not going to second guess the manager or the sporting director Nick Hammond.

"In fact he is just going to help them."

Samuelson says he hopes Zingarevich's visa problems will be sorted out within the next four weeks.

"You will all be able to meet Anton when he can get here," he explained. "He's a very nice young man, softly spoken and there's no flamboyancy to him at all.

"He operates very quietly and in an organised fashion. This is an important occasion for Anton too, very important."

The Zingarevich family have been attempting to break into the football business for years.

Anton's father, Boris, was involved in an investment venture with Everton seven years ago, though the deal broke down at the last minute.

But they have been scouring the European football scene ever since waiting for the right club to become available.

Samuelson added: "Anton was considering investing in a club in Europe and preferably England. He had a number of clubs under consideration but when it became know that Reading was available it became the focus, it made the most sense.

"We didn't speak to the other clubs directly."

The Zingarevich's hail from St Petersburg, though Anton currently lives in Moscow with his model wife, Katsia.

But Samuelson insisted: "He told me he paid to go Elm Park when he lived here.

"He has every intention of coming to games and the convenience of Heathrow Airport helps a lot, though it will be harder to get to away games.

"Now we're just waiting for the visa to be sorted out."

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