“How do you sum that up, Dave?”

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked that question. I despise “summing things up” and I particularly dislike that question. 

For one thing, it’s a seemingly innocuous question, but it’s got danger written all over it. For another, it’s amazing how many summarisers rely on the players to do their summarising for them.

In context, the 6-4 defeat against Spurs and the 7-4 defeat to Portsmouth, both in the 2007/08 season, spring to mind. 

“How do you sum that up, Dave?”

Give me that microphone and I’ll show you!

Nevertheless, the phrase still found its way into my head this week as I tried to make sense of the latest madness at Reading FC.

For the last few days, I’ve been back and forth with anyone who might have the tiniest bit of info surrounding the sale of the training ground and, indeed, the sale of the club.

At one point on Friday, the updates were literally dropping into my phone every ten minutes. One of my WhatsApp timelines reads like the mind of the world’s most indecisive executioner.

The sale of Bearwood to Wycombe Wanderers was on one minute and off the next, only to materialise an hour later in a different guise entirely, then the fee changed, then it didn’t, then Wokingham Council remembered some clause relating to planning limitations at Bearwood that gives sole use of the land to Reading FC.

You’d have thought that Reading’s owners might have used some common sense to check that little detail before publicly inviting offers to buy the place? Then again, why break with tradition?

Nobody really knew how to take the news.  “Fantastic” said one contact… “oh, but what about the tax bill!?”  No doubt a few more points lost to the EFL, who themselves must be nudging the League One playoff places by now!

All of this was set against the wider backdrop of a complete sale of the club to a Canadian consortium who had apparently made “a firm offer”, only for another group to “top the money on the table”, but nobody really knew who.  What about the price?  £30m said one, £35m said another. Does it include the training ground?



No idea!

There’s no doubt that Bearwood is going to play a huge part in any sale of Reading now, and perhaps not in a good way.

With one wag of Wokingham Council’s gnarly finger, Bearwood went from being a huge asset to a massive liability in that its list of potential owners shrank to one, namely whoever buys it will need to own Reading FC too, and they won’t be able to sell it to anybody else unless that person also wants to own Reading.  In short, that isn’t an attractive proposition.

And here’s the real rub.  Wycombe had apparently agreed a deal to buy Bearwood for £20m-£25m. The sale price of the club is rumoured to be £30m-£35m. You don’t need a PHD to come to the conclusion that the total price is astronomical for a League One club, never mind whatever debt there might be lurking under the bonnet.

However, it’s also worth pointing out how careful Wycombe were with the wording of their club statement, issued on Monday. In what was a short statement, the Chairboys were seemingly at pains to avoid saying that the deal had been officially scrapped, twice using the phrase “put on hold”.

All of which leaves us where? I’m not sure anybody really knows the answer to that question, but my guess would be that it involves a creek and the absence of a paddle.

That said, by the time you read this Reading could well have been sold and the world could look a whole lot better. You just never know with these owners.

So how do you sum all that up? You don’t.

Because the difference between summing up a football match and what’s happening at Reading is that the football match has actually ended.

With Reading FC and the ongoing drama that swirls around the club, it always feels as if the game is only just beginning.


I’m writing this before Reading Blue Coat School’s ISFA U18s Shield final against Cranleigh School at Burnham FC. I’m proud to be coaching the first Blue Coat football 1st XI to reach a national final in the school’s 378-year history. 

Head of football Kester Buckland and more importantly the players have been a pleasure to coach and a credit to the school.

Having coached a school in Reading and numerous teams across Berkshire, I am about to embark on my biggest challenge yet – as national team manager of Nauru, the world’s third smallest country!

I remain committed to the children I am coaching in the Reading area and being an international manager won’t get in the way of that.

There is also the small matter of my upcoming debut for Caversham United at Mapledurham Playing Fields on Sunday morning. More on that next week!