Reading FC Reporter, James Earnshaw, gives his verdict on where the buck stops as the Royals lurch from crisis to crisis.


Reading fans were rocked by yet more troubling news yesterday as it was revealed that the club were  was issued with a winding-up petition from HMRC because of missed payments.

This joins the long-list of EFL misdemeanours thrown at the club in recent weeks, including failing to pay staff and players on time.

As a result, more than 3,000 fans have followed the Sell Before We Dai protest group on social media, who are in the process of putting together an action plan.

In the face of a battle off the field, relegation to League One for the men and WSL relegation for the women seems like small fry.

However, with the new season approaching and pre-season already underway, the Royals are far from prepared with less than a whole squad of players available and incoming manager Ruben Selles still waiting for a work visa to be approved.

All of this has led to much apathy and anger, both from within the club and externally. So who is responsible for the state the Royals find themselves in?

Reading Chronicle:

Mr Dai Yongge?

The buck ultimately stops with the owner. Taking over on the eve of Reading's 2017 play-off semi-final win, the club was on the brink of returning to the Premier League.

In the following six years, the club has finished in the top half just once and has been inundated with EFL sanctions.

Nobody can argue that Mr Dai has failed to pile money into the club, breaking the club's transfer record just three months into his tenure when the Royals purchased Sone Aluko for £7.5m before spending millions on a new training ground in Bearwood.

Regularly running at a wages-to-turnover ratio of over 200 per cent, the issue was never how much he had invested, it was where he was investing it and how effectively this was being put to use.

Listening to 'advisors' on not only poor-quality signings, but also on managers.

His relationship with 'super agent' Kia Joorabchian is a difficult issue to pin down. A controversial figure in football long before his association with Reading, Joorabchian’s friendship with the owner is one that deeply unsettles supporters.

Joorabchian has repeatedly denied talk that he has any formal involvement at the football club.

Supporters feared the worst regarding 'Mr Dai' upon relegation, worried he would lose interest and stop investing or yet more skeletons would come out of the closet. Although there is no indication of the former, the latter is plain to see.

Patience has run out amongst the fanbase, with many giving him the benefit of the doubt after PR stunts such as free away travel and an attempt to hand out cash to fans at the 150th anniversary celebration match, which was quickly backtracked on after much complaint.

Proving incapable of efficiently running the club over multiple seasons, the buck stops with Dai.

Reading Chronicle:

Dayong Pang?

'Mr Dai's' man on the ground, CEO Pang has proved equally ineffective in his crucial role at the helm in Berkshire.

Arriving in the wake of Ron Gourlay and other strange appointments, including the little-seen Gianluca Nani, Pang had little to no footballing experience before taking the reigns.

Supposed to be a figurehead for the club, who sets the tone and steers the club in the right direction, Reading have meandered from one disaster to another in his three years at the top.

Occasionally coming out with 'open letters' to try and quell uproar, he has plainly lost the support of the fanbase and many a staff member in RG2.

Holding a role of great responsibility, it is fair to say he has overseen the most turbulent period in the club's recent history, and not in a way which has filled anyone with confidence

Reading Chronicle:


This section is aimed towards the old regime of the EFL, the one which let Mr Dai buy the club in the first place.


Denied from purchasing Hull City in the Premier League, Mr Dai managed to cruise through the EFL’s Owner and Director's Test and purchase Reading Football Club.

He has since bankrupted two clubs abroad and taken the Royals to the brink.

It is not only Reading that have suffered, with the likes of Bury, Macclesfield Town and Oldham Athletic among the plethora of clubs to struggle thanks to ineffective owners.

Things have got better at the EFL, but too late to have helped Reading back in 2017.

Although it is Mr Dai who has ultimately sullied the Club, fans can feel aggrieved that the EFL let the Chinese businessman get his hands on the Royals in the first place,