RON Gourlay suggests too many takeovers in a short period of time have taken their toll on Reading FC.

Chinese siblings Dai Yongge and Dai Xiu Li are the club’s third owners in six years since former chairman Sir John Madejski left in 2012.

The club has since been in the hands of Russian businessman, Anton Zingarevich, and a Thai consortium led by Lady Sasima Srivikorn before the present owners took over in May, 2017.

Before that Madejski had spent 22 years at the helm after saving the club from possible extinction in 1990.

And chief executive Gourlay argues Reading is in need of some much-needed stability, with Paul Clement’s team currently bottom of the Championship six games into the season.

“Don’t underestimate the fact the club had sustained ownership through Sir John for a long, long period,” said Gourlay.

“Then there were three changes and in between that Sir John came back hands on after the first party (Zingarevich) left.

“That has had an impact when you are trying to build a club to return to the Premier League. You need sustainability to do that.”

Reading’s spent more than they ever had in the 2017 summer transfer window which included the record signing of Sone Aluko from Fulham for around £5m.

By comparison, the club spent less than that in total this transfer window after Clement signed eight players including Sam Baldock from Brighton for £2m and Marc McNulty from Coventry City for £1m.

That, though, is far less than many of their rivals in the division, as Gourlay pointed out: “Look at the Championship now,” he added. “There are eight clubs receiving major parachute payments, we don’t and we didn’t last year.

“The minimum amount in that period is £16m and it goes up to £41m. This is a cycle over three seasons. We’ve got to work within our means. It’s challenging but we have a plan.

“The important thing is we have enough quality in our team and everybody acknowledges that.”

Gourlay has come in for criticism from supporters after the team narrowly avoided relegation last season, costing Jaap Stam his job.

Clement arrived in March and kept Royals up, but his team are yet to win in six league games this season and are bottom with just two points on the board.

However, Gourlay believes the club’s ethos is slowly changing and used Liam Moore as a prime example. The 25-year-old centre-back signed a new five-year deal recently when it looked as though he would join Brighton in a £10m move.

Gourlay explained: “We keep talking about investment. Before I arrived there were many different owners, and three years of parachute payments to go out and spend on players. But there’s quite a history of selling our best players.

“We haven’t done any of that this year. That was a big statement.

“We signed arguably our best payer on a long contract which is a big statement of intent. Given the financial situation, we could go out and sell our best players, but that’s not we’re about.

“We’re showing our young players that the top players are here for a long time. We have an owner who is prepared to back us and build for the future.”