September 29, 2023. 257 days ago, Reading Football Club announced that Chinese billionaire Dai Yongge was listening to offers for the club. Seven years into his reign, and a long-overdue relegation, Yongge’s tap ran dry. Be it through choice or inability, staff and players were regularly unpaid, as were the tax authorities, in what was a crisis summer 12 months ago.

In that time, the club have been repeatedly kicked with embargoes, points deductions and bad publicity, but on the field the club rallied like never before.

As we sit here now, almost a calendar year on, little has changed. Names are linked and figures are thrown around, but the only concrete news anyone has is that Yongge’s name remains above the door.

For those, of which I’m sure there are many, that have lost track- take a look below at a timeline of the club’s annus horribilis and where we stand in the present day.

(Image: jasonpix)


Stretching back as far as 2022 technically, it was not uncommon for wages to be paid late. However, if suffering relegation wasn’t enough, June and July was a kick in the gut to staff fearing for their jobs as wages and HMRC payments were late, ensuring the club were regulars on the EFL’s Embargo Reporting service.

Before a ball was even kicked, supporters mobilised and Sell Before We Dai became a social media presence all supporters set up notifications for, with action backed by more and more with every passing misdemeanour.

Players were unable to register until the final moment and new manager Ruben Selles was already on the back foot from almost day dot as a one-point deduction was in place from August for financial issues. A suspended three-point deduction was triggered the very next month as Yongge was unable, or unwilling, to put 125 per cent of the wage bill into a designated account, a task which remained incomplete for the season.

October saw another winding-up petition lodged from HMRC and autumn brought a winter of discontent as first-team coaches were made redundant and wages paid late in the build-up to Christmas.

A small chink of light was in the distance as the nights drew in, coming in the way of Genevra Associates. The Swiss hedge fund looked in pole position to end the saga before 2023 was up, but as has been the theme of this season, any possible light at the end of the tunnel proves to be the headlights of an oncoming train. With talks breaking down before the New Year was welcomed in, January saw more unrest as homegrown Academy graduates were thrown out of the door in exchange for a pittance, seeing supporters take action and cause a match abandonment through a pitch invasion.

(Image: jasonpix)

February brought the latest points deduction, two this time for HMRC issues, while March was a rollercoaster of emotions in itself for supporters. A US-Saudi consortium, regularly attending matches by this point, were heavily linked with the club and Rob Couhig [more on him later] was foiled in attempts to purchase the state-of-the-art Bearwood training facility for use of Wycombe Wanderers but by the end of the month, it looked to be the beginning of the end as an unnamed party agreed to exclusivity.

Wages were paid, as was tax, and supporters could not keep themselves away from Companies House to see the mysterious ‘Chiron’ group putting money into the club. For the first time all season, supporters could focus on the football and Selles’ Royals made it worth their while, eventually staying up at a canter.

Where are we now

So, come the end of April, all was well. The Select Car Leasing Stadium was almost packed out most weeks and fans couldn’t wait to renew season tickets as a fresh wave of optimism crashed into RG2.

Well, as with Reading, it wasn’t that straightforward. Months and months passed with no sign of a deal progressing. The unnamed party remained unnamed and after what felt like an eternity, optimism turned back to fear as the club announced exclusivity had expired with no deal completed. Back to the drawing board, it would seem.

Well, as we sit here now, currently writing on June 12 with Three Lions blaring out of the speakers, the aforementioned US-Saudi group have returned to the table but sit behind another blast from the past, Rob Couhig.

(Image: pa)

The 75-year-old owned Wycombe from 2020 until 2024 and took the Chairboys to unprecedented success. However, he remains a contentious figure in Berkshire due to ‘Bearwood-gate’ and some less than glowing remarks of the Royals supporters.

Nevertheless, at the time of writing it is understood that the American leads the way in a takeover bid, albeit looking increasingly likely to drag into pre-season and perhaps even beyond.

So, there you have it, a brief dive back 257 days to the beginning of a torrid year for all connected to the club. It famously took 378 days for the first-team to win away from home between 2022 and 2023. Fingers crossed it doesn’t take that long in this particular fight.