Riding high after two straight victories, off-field issues returned to dominate the headlines as payroll was late. 

Opting to pay the playing staff on time and not the general staff in order to offset another points deduction, manager Ruben Selles and Director of Football Mark Bowen refused to take their salaries until the entire workforce received their pay packets.

The first weekend of the month saw the club make the trip to Eastleigh in the FA Cup, with ITV televising the clash live on terrestrial television.

It proved a landmark moment as Royals supporters protested on opposition soil for the first time, apologising to the Spitfires for any inconvenience, but receiving widespread support after it was covered impeccably by ITV and the likes of Ian Wright and Sam Matterface.

Supporters need not apologise for ‘ruining Eastleigh’s day’ as many had pushed for, with the non-league outfit knocking Reading out 2-1.

Barnsley ended the Royals’ two game winning run in the league before Oxford United visited for the highly-anticipated Thames Valley Derby.

More than 14,000 turned out, the largest gate of the season at that point, and the cagey affair ended 1-1.

Proving more difficult to beat, Reading would remain unbeaten for the month- however they would only win one in what was a difficult fixture list.
Lincoln City, Peterborough United and Cheltenham Town were all held to draws in the festive month, while Wigan Athletic were beaten 2-0 in the fixture immediately preceding Christmas as the likes of Femi Azeez, Sam Smith and Harvey Knibbs came to the fore.

Safe passage to the round of 16 of the EFL Trophy was made in December too, with Charlton Athletic visiting Berkshire in the first knockout stage.
Alfie May put the Addicks ahead but substitute Charlie Savage took the game to a penalty shootout with a long-range strike eight minutes from time.

Former Manchester United goalkeeper Joel Pereira made his debut and saved two penalties while the hosts netted all four to progress and set up a tie at Brighton and Hove Albion Under-21s in January.

Heading into 2024, Reading found themselves inside the relegation zone but just three points away from the nearest side.

Elusive midfielder Ovie Ejaria, who had not featured for the first time in over a year, was released from his contract early.

Off the field, owner Dai Yongge was fined £20,000 for Reading’s wages failures and the EFL recommended a 12-month ban from all football activities, but an independent disciplinary commission opted against this and a further £50,000 fine was suspended until January 2024.

Many had hoped ‘Genevra Associates’ would take over, with reports of a deal being agreed, but supporters were let down when negotiations fell apart late on and returned the club to a state of limbo.

While things would pick up on the field, things would get worse before they got any better in the boardroom as January would become a dark month in the overall history of the football club.