Former Sunderland director Charlie Methven described dealing with British businessman William Storey as 'very time-consuming' following news that he was bidding for Reading.

The founder of an energy drinks company has reported lodged a £50m bid for the Royals, something disputed by Reading Football Club.

He was previously interested in buying Sunderland and Coventry City, but failed on both counts.

Methven, who was part of the hierarchy on Wearside under Stewart Donald's ownership, dealt with Mr Storey while trying to take over at the Stadium of Light.

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Now a co-owner at Charlton Athletic, who the Royals play on Saturday, Methven was asked about his dealings with Mr Storey on the 'Where's The Money Gone?' podcast.

"William Storey poked his head into the world of football at Sunderland when we were there as owners, around about two to three years ago. It was around the end of Covid when this extravagantly bearded man announced that he was going to buy the football club from us," he said. "He announced it to the then majority shareholder, Stewart Donald, first. He said that the asking price was too low, felt that it should be higher and, in his own words, ‘money is no object.’ He then went public very quickly, before we even had the chance to digest the munificence of his offerings and started to go on social media interacting with Sunderland fans and telling them about all the Premier League players he was going to sign for the club. Effectively, he was going to be the solution to all of Sunderland’s ills.

"That direct approach to the fanbase caused us some issues because when somebody comes along and says it is feasible, possible and should be done to sign a bunch of Premier League players to a League One club, it makes life quite difficult for the current incumbent who knows that it is a total impossibility, but you’re lacking a counter-factual so you can’t prove that it is an impossibility. You would have to go out and try to sign a bunch of Premier League players and then be knocked back by their agents or current clubs to prove that the guy involved is talking complete hogwash.

"This whole charade went on for some time. Various letters and obscure bank statements were produced, trying to attain some funds sufficient to buy the club. In truth, we never felt, having done some initial research, that it was ever especially likely that this particular purchaser was going to come up with the money. In the meantime, we were already in discussions with a very credible owner, the former owners of Marseille, the Louis-Dreyfus family. While perhaps not having William Storey’s extravagant views on the valuation of the club, we were pretty sure they would have the money and were going to pass the EFL test. We progressed with that deal and eventually ended up having a bit of a giggle with the whole Storey episode.

"When you’re in the middle of it, it can be a very time-consuming exercise because you have journalists and fan groups calling you all the time asking about this very extrovert figure and why you’re not accepting his offer. That can be a tricky thing to deal with and take up a lot of time. For the unwary, the club owners who haven’t got the time or inclination to look too closely, it can be a proper waste of time to think this person is going to buy the club when in actual fact it is highly unlikely to happen."

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Mr Storey himself appeared on TalkSPORT last week, but refused to confirm or deny his desire to purchase the Royals, who have been put up for sale.

"I can’t say on a specific bid," he told Alex Crook, Sam Matterface and former Royal Martin Keown. "What I can say is that I made a bid for Sunderland and Coventry. Both involved extensive EFL conversations. Clearly, a bid for Reading would include the same and we wouldn’t be making a bid were the EFL process not in hand. That is probably the closest I can say on my prospective bid, were it to be there."