Hob Nob Anyone? News and Views Latest updates on Hob Nob Anyone? - The Reading Football Club Fans' Website http://www.royals.org/news.php Mon, 24 Jul 2017 07:24:04 BST Mon, 24 Jul 2017 07:24:04 BST 1800 New Signing Vito Mannone Heads To Holland Reading have signed Sunderland goalkeeper Vito Mannone for two million pounds to replace the outgoing Ali Al Habsi. <br/><br/> The Italian goalkeeper appears to be a straight swap for Al Habsi and comes to Reading with four seasons of Premier League experience with Sunderland. Mannone also made 15 Premier League appearances for Arsenal before moving to Sunderland for 1.5 million pounds in the summer of 2013. He spent eight years at Arsenal, which included loan spells at Hull and Barnsley. He established himself as Sunderland's first choice goalkeeper in the 2013/2014 season but gradually struggled to hold down his place and last season played just 9 League games, with his last outing a 0-4 home defeat at the hands of Southampton. <br/><br/> After signing a three year contract with the Royals, Mannone headed straight to the airport to catch a flight to join his team mates for pre-season in Holland - where he has already been involved in training. <br/><br/> Meanwhile, Dominic Samuel has signed for League One Blackburn Rovers. Samuel threatened several times to break into Reading's first team, but instead found his best success out on loan at Coventry and Gillingham. As Samuel leaves, his Reading record will read as two goals from a total of 16 appearances. <br/><br/> <strong>Players In So Far:</strong> <ul> <li><strong>Vito Mannone</strong> (Sunderland)</li> <li><strong>Jon Dadi Bodvarsson</strong> (Wolves)</li> <li><strong>Pelle Clement</strong> (Ajax)</li> </ul> <p> <strong>Players Out So Far:</strong> </p> <ul> <li><strong>Dominic Samuel</strong> (Blackburn Rovers)</li> <li><strong>Ali Al Habsi</strong> (Al-Hilal)</li> <li><strong>Danny Williams</strong> (Huddersfield Town)</li> <li><strong>Niall Keown</strong> (Partick Thistle)</li> <li><strong>Zak Jules</strong> (Shrewsbury Town)</li> <li><strong>Jack Stacey</strong> (Luton Town)</li> <li><strong>Tariqe Fosu</strong> (Charlton Athletic)</li> <li><strong>Craig Tanner</strong> (Motherwell)</li> <li><strong>Sean Long</strong> (Lincoln City)</li> <li><strong>Dominic Hyam</strong> (Coventry City)</li> <li><strong>Aaron Kuhl</strong> (Out of contract)</li> <li><strong>Stuart Moore</strong> (Out of contract)</li> <li><strong>Harrison Bennett</strong> (Out of contract)</li> <li><strong>Joe Tupper</strong> (Out of contract)</li> <li><strong>Terence Vancooten</strong> (Out of contract)</li> <li><strong>Jack Denton</strong> (Out of contract)</li> <li><strong>Harry Cardwell</strong> (Out of contract)</li> </ul> <p> <strong>Players Out On Loan So Far:</strong> </p> <ul> <li><strong>Danzell Gravenberch</strong> (loan to KSV Roeselare)</li> <li><strong>Andrija Novakovich</strong> (loan to Telstar)</li> <li><strong>Jonathan Bond</strong> (loan to Peterborough)</li> <li><strong>Deniss Rakels</strong> (loan to Lech Poznan)</li> </ul> http://www.royals.org/news/682/New_Signing_Vito_Mannone_Heads_To_Holland 682 Thu, 20 Jul 2017 13:19:53 BST Hob Nob Anyone? Ali Al Habsi Departure Confirmed Reading will be continuing their hunt for a new goalkeeper after Ali Al Habsi completed his move to Saudi Arabia, where he has signed a three year contract with Al-Hilal. Al Habsi, who signed a new contract with Reading in the January, used a release clause to return closer to home. He made 91 appearances for the Royals and become a firm fan favourite thanks to his reliable performances. The Royals are left with Anssi Jaakkola and George Legg as possible first team goalkeepers currently with Bond joining Peterborough. Jaakkola made three league cup appearances after signing last summer. 21 year old Legg has been building up experience out on loan. Although Jaakkola may step up to the role Stam will continue to look for a new first choice shot stopper. <Br/><br/> Meanwhile, new signing Jon Dadi Bodvarsson has joined the squad out in Holland as their pre-season tour continues. The Icelandic player signs from Wolves on a three year contract after an indifferent season where he struggled to hold down a place in the side. Despite scoring on his debut for Wolves in a League Cup draw at Rotherham, Bodvarsson finished the season with just three goals. He featured in nearly all games but was limited to late appearances from the bench towards the end of the season. It will be interesting to see how he fits in at Reading, and you can't help but feel there may be another striker on the way into the club. <Br/><br/> Fellow striker Yann Kermorgant won't be taking part in the pre-season schedule in Holland or back in the UK after a training incident caused an injury to his hip that is expected to see him miss the start of the season. With Reading's top goalscorer having to wait before getting his campaign underway, in what will be his last season before retirement, the pressure will be on Bodvarsson - or another new signing - to find some goalscoring form. <Br/><br/> Reading have already used the tour in Holland to test players fitness and try out a lot of the squad, but the results in Saturday's games were disappointing as the Royals went down 0-1 against KV Kortrijk and then drew 2-2 with Genclerbirligi. Stam opted for a very young side against Kortrijk to see which players may be able to make the jump to the first team this season. The draw saw a more experienced side take to the pitch, and Reading had to come from behind twice to draw thanks to goals from Popa and Roy Beerens. <Br/><br/> It is the same again for Reading next Saturday, 22 July, as they play two more games on the same day in Holland. The two games will allow Stam to look at almost his entire squad in action across the day. <Br/><br/> With so many young players released already this summer the squad is looking thinner than usual. There is a real opportunity for players turning professional, such as Danny Loader, to make a real impression in pre-season as Jaap Stam weighs up his transfer options. It's still early days and plenty more transfer activity is expected between now and the start of the new Championship season. <br/><br/> <strong>Players In So Far:</strong> <ul> <li><strong>Pelle Clement</strong> (Ajax)</li> <li><strong>Jon Dadi Bodvarsson</strong> (Wolves)</li> </ul> <p> <strong>Players Out So Far:</strong> </p> <ul> <li><strong>Ali Al Habsi</strong> (Al-Hilal)</li> <li><strong>Danny Williams</strong> (Huddersfield Town)</li> <li><strong>Niall Keown</strong> (Partick Thistle)</li> <li><strong>Zak Jules</strong> (Shrewsbury Town)</li> <li><strong>Jack Stacey</strong> (Luton Town)</li> <li><strong>Tariqe Fosu</strong> (Charlton Athletic)</li> <li><strong>Craig Tanner</strong> (Motherwell)</li> <li><strong>Sean Long</strong> (Lincoln City)</li> <li><strong>Dominic Hyam</strong> (Coventry City)</li> <li><strong>Aaron Kuhl</strong> (Out of contract)</li> <li><strong>Stuart Moore</strong> (Out of contract)</li> <li><strong>Harrison Bennett</strong> (Out of contract)</li> <li><strong>Joe Tupper</strong> (Out of contract)</li> <li><strong>Terence Vancooten</strong> (Out of contract)</li> <li><strong>Jack Denton</strong> (Out of contract)</li> <li><strong>Harry Cardwell</strong> (Out of contract)</li> </ul> <p> <strong>Players Out On Loan So Far:</strong> </p> <ul> <li><strong>Danzell Gravenberch</strong> (loan to KSV Roeselare)</li> <li><strong>Andrija Novakovich</strong> (loan to Telstar)</li> <li><strong>Jonathan Bond</strong> (loan to Peterborough)</li> <li><strong>Deniss Rakels</strong> (loan to Lech Poznan)</li> </ul> http://www.royals.org/news/681/Ali_Al_Habsi_Departure_Confirmed 681 Mon, 17 Jul 2017 11:27:55 BST Hob Nob Anyone? Stam Extends Contact As Williams Joins Huddersfield After a year in charge of the Royals, Jaap Stam has signed a new contract that will keep him at the club for a until the summer of 2019. Stam, who had a year left on his existing contract, has been rewarded for a successful first season as club manager with a better deal that gives him a further year at Reading FC. After a couple of season in the wrong half of the Championship table no-one can deny that Stam has got the team to perform well ahead of expectations after he guided them to a 3rd place season in this first season in charge and took us to Wembley Stadium for the play-off final. The play-off final might have been a huge disappointment, but the Royals were just a couple of penalties away from the Premier League. <br/><br/> Stam will be hoping to go one better this season as he already starts to shape his squad for the new campaign. Of course, if the Royals can finish just a single place better in the final table then Stam will be under contract at a Premier League side. Stam has retained his backroom staff, including second in charge Andries Ulderink and first team coach Said Bakkati who joined him when he arrived at the club. If you <a href="https://www.freebets.com/offers" target="_blank">get the latest sports betting offers</a>, you'll see that Reading are great value to be promoted at 6/1. <br/><br/> After bringing in Dutch players last season, Stam looks set to continue to Dutch revolution at Reading. His first summer signing is Pelle Clement from Stam's former employers, Dutch side Ajax. Clement has signed a three year deal and is described at an attacking midfielder. At just 21, and having come through the Ajax academy, Clement appears to be a very bright prospect. After playing most of the 2015/2016 season for Ajax's second side the Amsterdam born player made the break through to the first team last season, making 4 appearances for the first team. <br/><br/> Meanwhile there has been plenty of outbound activity, mainly involving players that have failed to make an impression on the Reading senior squad last season, but also one big name in the shape of Danny Williams. Williams was out of contract at Reading and failed to negotiate a new deal. He now joins Premier League new boys Huddersfield Town who defeated Reading in the play-off final. Williams joined Reading from Hoffenheim and went on to make 156 appearances over four seasons for the Royals, scoring 14 goals. <br/><br/> Danzell Gravenberch will spend next season on loan at Belgium club KSV Roeselare. Young striker Andrija Novakovich will be pleased with a new contract at Reading after looking like he might break into the first team but never quite making the transition. Novakovich has two more years under contract at Reading to make an impression and has joined Dutch side Telstar for the season. <br/><br/> Goalkeeper Jonathan Bond has slipped down the ranks at Reading, dramatically falling from his position as first choice goalkeeper when he arrived at the club as an England Under 21 international. Bond will remain on Reading's books but has joined League One side Peterborough on a six-month loan. Another player that arrived and become a first team regular was striker Deniss Rakels, but his entire season was destroyed by injury last season. It now seems unlikely he will play for Reading again and has returned to Poland to join Lech Poznan for the season. <br/><br/> William's departure might grab the headlines, but the real story is a huge clear out of young talent that appears to have failed to make the grade at Reading. <br/><br/> Niall Keown is another player that almost made it at Reading, but found himself unable to get into the first team last season. Keown has signed a two year contract at Scottish side Partick Thistle after a successful loan spell there last season, and now leaves Reading permanently. Shrewsbury Town have snapped up defender Zak Jules on a two year contract. Yet another defender out of the door is Jack Stacey who spent last season on loan at Exeter City. Stacey joins League Two team Luton Town - also on a two year deal. Another player with loads of potential who looked like becoming the next big thing for a while is Tariqe Fosu who has joined Charlton Athletic. <br/><br/> <strong>Players In So Far:</strong> <ul> <li><strong>Pelle Clement</strong> (Ajax)</li> </ul> <p> <strong>Players Out So Far:</strong> </p> <ul> <li><strong>Danny Williams</strong> (Huddersfield Town)</li> <li><strong>Niall Keown</strong> (Partick Thistle)</li> <li><strong>Zak Jules</strong> (Shrewsbury Town)</li> <li><strong>Jack Stacey</strong> (Luton Town)</li> <li><strong>Tariqe Fosu</strong> (Charlton Athletic)</li> <li><strong>Craig Tanner</strong> (Motherwell)</li> <li><strong>Sean Long</strong> (Lincoln City)</li> <li><strong>Dominic Hyam</strong> (Coventry City)</li> <li><strong>Aaron Kuhl</strong> (Out of contract)</li> <li><strong>Stuart Moore</strong> (Out of contract)</li> <li><strong>Harrison Bennett</strong> (Out of contract)</li> <li><strong>Joe Tupper</strong> (Out of contract)</li> <li><strong>Terence Vancooten</strong> (Out of contract)</li> <li><strong>Jack Denton</strong> (Out of contract)</li> <li><strong>Harry Cardwell</strong> (Out of contract)</li> </ul> <p> <strong>Players Out On Loan So Far:</strong> </p> <ul> <li><strong>Danzell Gravenberch</strong> (loan to KSV Roeselare)</li> <li><strong>Andrija Novakovich</strong> (loan to Telstar)</li> <li><strong>Jonathan Bond</strong> (loan to Peterborough)</li> <li><strong>Deniss Rakels</strong> (loan to Lech Poznan)</li> </ul> http://www.royals.org/news/680/Stam_Extends_Contact_As_Williams_Joins_Huddersfield 680 Wed, 05 Jul 2017 09:55:00 BST Hob Nob Anyone? New Season Fixture List In Full: Royals Face Tough Start <a href="http://www.royals.org/fixtures.html">Reading's fixtures for the new 2017/2018 season</a> have been released this morning and see the Royals kick-off with an away trip to QPR on Saturday 5 August. Reading face a tough start to their new Championship campaign with games against Fulham and Aston Villa at home following immediately after. <br/><Br/> The end of the season isn't much kinder with games against Fulham, relegated Sunderland, Sheffield Wednesday, Ipswich and Cardiff away to wrap up the season. The trip to Cardiff means that Reading both start the season and end the season playing away from home. <br/><Br/> The traditional boxing day game is away at Bristol City this year, with a home game against Burton Albion on 23 December. The games are really packed in over the festive period with a trip to Barnsley on 30 December, followed up by a home game against Birmingham City just two days later on New Years day. <br/><br/> Having narrowly missed out on promotion to the Premier League after the defeat at Wembley on penalties in the play-off final, Reading might be considered as genuine promotion candidates this season. However, a look down the fixture list shows that promotion out of this league is a very tough job indeed. There are some big names in the Championship aiming for a top two finish - and we will certainly be hoping to avoid the play-offs this season. <Br/><br/> Historically Reading always lose in play-off finals - but recently we have followed it up with a successful automatic promotion campaign the following season. For once, we will be hoping history repeats itself. We went up to the Premier League as Champions in 2011/2012 after defeat in the play-off final the season before. The same was true in 2001/2002 when we finished second in Division Two after losing to Walsall in the play-off final the season before. <ul> <li><a href="http://www.royals.org/fixtures.html">Reading's fixtures for the new 2017/2018 season in full</a></li> </ul> http://www.royals.org/news/679/New_Season_Fixture_List_In_Full:_Royals_Face_Tough_Start 679 Wed, 21 Jun 2017 09:38:21 BST Hob Nob Anyone? Play-Off Final Defeat: Things We Learned <p><br/> An exceptional season for Reading FC came to a devastating end on <a href="http://www.royals.org/matchreport/290517/Huddersfield_0_Reading_0">Monday afternoon when they lost the 4th play-off final in their history</a>. Neither Reading or Huddersfield could get the ball in the net in normal or extra time, meaning the dreaded penalty shootout was required to separate the two sides. An Ali Al-Habsi save against Michael Hefele was enough for Reading fans to start believing Premier League football awaited them next season. Unfortunately that was not meant to be with defenders Liam Moore and Jordan Obita both failing to convert their spot kicks. <br/><br/> Here are some of the things that came out of the game. </p> <p> <strong>A Season To Remember</strong> <br/><br/> After the dramatic and somewhat depressing end to Monday's final, it may be hard to focus on the positives. The Royals finished third in the league. They beat the favourites for promotion over two legs. They lost the play-off final on penalties. It is something that is going to hurt for a little while yet before focus has to turn to going one step better by achieving automatic promotion next season (as has happened before). <br/><br/> Amidst the disappointment, we must remember the achievements of the players this season to get the club in the position they were. No one expected Reading to be anywhere near the top of the table and fans have Jaap Stam and his squad to thank for that. At times it has not been pretty or exciting to watch but a lot of the time it has been effective. This season was only meant to be the start of a learning curve for the Reading squad as they adapted to the Dutch style of football. Ultimately it nearly became so much more. <p> <strong>Tactical Troubles</strong> <br/><br/> Jaap Stam must be praised for his tactics against Fulham in the semi-finals, nullifying the dangerous Fulham attack to good effect. Against Huddersfield, however, that was not the case. From the off, Reading were second best. Huddersfield were seeing the majority of the ball and looked threatening while Reading couldn't string two passes together and were far too narrow. <br/><br/> The press that was highly effective against Fulham was also non-existent at Wembley, with goalkeeper Danny Ward and his Huddersfield teammates allowed all the time in the world to play the ball out of defence. It didn't help the Reading cause that there were a couple of individuals in their ranks that were having particularly poor games and Yann Kermorgant struggled to win his aerial battles against a strong and resolute Huddersfield defence. As time went on the game evened out with both sides lacking quality going forwards. The substitutions of Garath McCleary and Liam Kelly helped the Royals somewhat but it was not enough to help them make a breakthrough. </p> <p> <strong>Sorry Swift</strong> <br/><br/> Along with Joey van den Berg, John Swift had a day to forget at Wembley. Unfortunately Swift has been a player I have singled out on several occasions in recent times due to a marked decline in his performances. When it mattered, he still could not conjure up his spectacular form earlier in the season. It is clear that Swift has the ability to be a great player, but has lacked consistency as the season went on. Earlier on in the season he could have taken on defences almost single-handedly. At Wembley he couldn't pass to teammates, got nudged off the ball far too easily and even managed to trip himself up while under no pressure. It has been a time for Swift to forget over the last few months but here's hoping he bounces back from this a stronger player next season. </p> <p> <strong>The Atmosphere</strong> <br/><br/> The atmosphere at Wembley was incredible for the Championship play-off final - at least, on one side of the ground... Anyone who goes to the Madejski Stadium knows that the Reading fans are not the loudest. Anyone who went to the Fulham semi-final knows, however, that they are capable of making a heck of a lot of noise when it counts. <br/><br/> With many Reading fans creeping out the woodwork to bring their numbers at Wembley to 39,000, the place should have been rocking. In reality it was at the Huddersfield end from start to finish. Won a corner? The crowd were up on their feet cheering. Won the ball back? Straight back up again willing their team on. It was not the most exciting game to say the least but the Huddersfield fans cheered the entire time while the Reading fans were comparatively lacking somewhat. They say that players feed off the energy their support gives them. If that is the case, Huddersfield's supporters may have given them the edge. </p> <p> <strong>Should I Stay Or Should I Go?</strong> <br/><br/> It has only been a matter of hours since Reading's defeat, but talk has already turned to transfers. It is well known that Danny Williams is out of contract and is wanting to play in the Premier League. Based on his performance in the final, he deserves it too. <br/><br/> Unfortunately, Reading are currently not in a position to offer that to him and may not be able to justify his high wage bill for another year in the Championship. It is clear from his reaction after the game on Monday that he loves the club almost as much as the club loves him. That, however, may not be enough. <br/><br/> The other transfer story will inevitably be Jaap Stam. Stam nearly worked a miracle in his debut managing season and has clearly started something special at Reading. Anyone who had their doubts at the beginning of the season will now surely be behind the majority in wanting the manager to be at the club next season. There will inevitably be demand for Stam but he has said that he wants to stay at Reading. Only time will tell but with Stam at the helm and the full backing of the new owners, next season could be even better. </p> <p> <strong>Onto The Next One</strong> <br/><br/> This result will take a little while to get over, but there are plenty of positives to take into next season. The most important is that Jaap Stam and his team have instilled belief back into the fan base after a troubling few years. While another year in the Championship may not be what many wanted, it could be a blessing in disguise. If the Royals can keep Stam and the rest of the coaching team in tact, bring in a few new faces and hold onto the majority of the squad then you have to think they have a real chance of challenging again next season. Here's hoping a large proportion of those Reading fans in attendance at Wembley on Monday come along for the ride week in week out. </p> http://www.royals.org/news/678/Play-Off_Final_Defeat:_Things_We_Learned 678 Wed, 31 May 2017 09:33:46 BST Alex Bower More Play-Off Disappointment As Huddersfield Go Up Reading suffered more Wembley pain as Huddersfield Town made the leap into the Premier League, defeating the Royals on penalties. After 46 league games, 2 play-off semi-final legs, and 120 more minutes at Wembley, promotion to the Premier League was decided by five penalty kicks each. Huddersfield managed to score four of theirs, while the Royals were on track after scoring the first three only to see Liam Moore's penalty blasted over the crossbar and Jordan Obita's weak effort saved to send Huddersfield up. <br/><br/> Reading's fourth play-off final ended in a fourth disappointment but, despite leading in the penalty shoot out, feelings of inevitability were stronger than those of disappointment as thousands of Reading fans trudged out of the stadium in silence. We seem destined to come out second best in every play-off final, but the Royals had themselves to blame after failing to score, or seriously trouble the Huddersfield goalkeeper after 120 goalless minutes. Unlike the excitement of Reading's previous play-off final appearances, this would have been poor for the neutral, in a game that went long periods without much action as the two teams cancelled each other out. Both sides had moments when they threatened, but by the end of extra time there had been nothing between them. Penalty shoot outs are brutal, but it was the only way to separate two sides. <br/><Br/> Both Obita and McCleary were missing from the starting eleven, limiting Reading's forward play, but were included on the bench to be called into action later in the game. At the end of extra time it was Reading that had edged both both possession and shots. However those statistics hide the Terriers better start to the game. It took the Royals a long time to settle down, and they weren't helped by some poor decisions as the linesmen missed both an offside and a Huddersfield player walking the ball off the pitch but being allowed to play on. As Reading struggled to keep hold of the ball they resorted to some heavy challenges to hold Huddersfield back, and that resulted in two early yellow cards for van den Berg and Kermorgant. Huddersfield had created a couple of early chances but failed to find the target with either of them, going wide from close range and high from a header. <br/><br/> Reading weathered the storm and then began to settle down and work their way into the game. Defensive nerves calmed and both Moore and Illori grew into their roles to contain a lively Huddersfield. We began to see more of the ball - a lot of that was thanks to Danny Williams, who was everywhere on the pitch to win the ball back and help calm things down for the Royals. We eventually had long range efforts from Swift and van den Berg but it was a quiet half for Ward in the Hudersfield goal. <br/><br/> The second half saw Reading start on top. Huddersfield had sold out their allocation and packed more supporters into Wembley, with some blocks going unsold in the Royals half of the stadium. However, playing towards their own fans in the second half the atmosphere improved as Reading took control of the game. After a lively start to the second half and after our early match panic, we eventually managed to return to Jaap Stam's style of football with the ball being passed around and the possession stats swinging back in Reading's favour. We struggled to create chances through with a few long passes finding their way out of play. Obita was introduced for van den Berg on 64 minutes and McCleary replaced Grabban ten minutes later. They were sensible substitutions with Reading creating little down the wings and van den Berg always a likely candidate for a second yellow card. <br/><br/> The games between the two sides in the regular season had both been close contests decided by a single goal. At any point during this game a single goal would have won it again. It was nearly Reading that game up with the goods when a cross from the left saw Gunter with a great chance to head Reading into the Premier League - however his effort was narrowly over the crossbar. If only that chance had fallen to Kermorgant then we might be heading for the Premier League. However, extra time seemed on the cards a long time before it eventually got underway. <br/><Br/> Liam Kelly was a welcome addition from the bench on 100 minutes replacing John Swift but it failed to swing the game. It was Huddersfield that could have won it before penalties as Wells put his effort just wide of the left post as Huddersfield counter attacked. Although we dreaded penalties it was almost a relief when they did eventually arrive. <Br/><Br/> Penalties got off to a bad start with Huddersfield winning the first toss of the coin, allowing them to take them in front of their own fans. However, it was Reading that went first, with Kermorgant going first. After a very long wait with the ball on the spot, Kermorgant confidently smashed it into the bottom left corner to put Reading ahead. Danny Williams put his straight down the middle, but thankfully the keeper didn't read it. When Ali Al Habsi dived to his right to save Huddersfield's second kick and make it 2-1 to Reading after two kicks each there was jubilation down the Reading end. When Kelly made it 3-1 the noise was deafening and we were all jumping around like lunatics. Now we really were within touching distance of the Premier League. Huddersfield made it 3-2 before Liam Moore sent the ball over the crossbar and all Reading fans back down to Earth in an instant. Joy turned to gloom in a second. 3-3, with one penalty left each. As if on cue, and to no suprise at all, Jordan Obita's penalty lacked power and was easily saved. Reading fans started leaving even before the last penalty was put past Al Habsi to send Huddersfield up. Huddersfield joy. Reading misery. <br/><br/> And so, Huddersfield have the summer to look forward to the glamour and excitement of the Premier League. Meanwhile, Reading will have to prepare for another season in England's second tier, and hopefully a push for automatic promotion. If we can't go up automatically next year then I'll settle for seventh or below. As long as we can avoid a play-off finish - it never ends well. <br/><br/> If you're looking for odds for Reading getting automatic promotion next then try this <a href="http://sport-promocode.de/" target="_blank">William Hill promo code</a>. <ul> <li><a href="http://www.royals.org/matchreport/290517/Huddersfield_0_Reading_0"><strong>Play-Off Final Match Reports:</strong> Huddersfield Town 0 Reading 0 AET (Huddersfield win 4-3 on penalties)</a></li> </ul> http://www.royals.org/news/677/More_Play-Off_Disappointment_As_Huddersfield_Go_Up 677 Tue, 30 May 2017 10:39:56 BST Hob Nob Anyone? Misery Or Joy Waits For Royals At Wembley The whole season comes down to one massive game on Monday, when the Royals head to Wembley Stadium for a 3pm kick-off to face Huddersfield Town in the Championship play-off final. It'll be misery for one half of the stadium and huge joy for the other half. The winning side will head off to the Premier League next season, and earn multiple millions of pounds in the process, while the losers will face another season in the Championship. A defeat will be very hard to take after getting within touching distance of the big time. The play-offs are exciting and cruel in equal measures. But surely after five defeats in the play-offs, three of which came in play-off finals, Reading are due that elusive joy at Wembley this time? <br/><br/> One thing is for certain, whoever comes out top between Reading and Huddersfield Town, they will become a surprise addition to the Premier League. Both sides started the season unfancied after failing to impress last season. Both teams rose high in the table but were still written off. After securing play-off positions they found themselves as outsiders with no-one paying much attention to either side until they upset the bookies and made their way into the play-off final. Reading secured a place in the final, thanks to a Kermorgant penalty, with a dramatic 1-0 home win over Fulham in the second leg. Huddersfield needed a penalty shoot out to edge past Sheffield Wednesday. <br/><br/> The winner of this fixture will be immediately installed as favourites for the drop next season - but will get such a big boost in income next season that it will all be worthwhile. It is a massive opportunity which both sides will be desperate to take. It couldn't be any more 50/50, with neither side a clear favourite. It was Reading that finished higher in the table - two places above Huddersfield - and it was also Reading that knocked out overall favourites Fulham. So, it still seems strange that Huddersfield are slight favourites with the bookies as you can currently see on <a href="https://crownbet.com.au/sports-betting/soccer/united-kingdom/" target="_blank">CrownBet's EFL odds</a>. <br/><br/> Both teams have been allocated approaching 40,000 tickets each for Monday's final after going back to the FA to request more tickets. Huddersfield are set to entirely sell out their allocation despite the inflated ticket prices. The Royals appear to still have tickets on sale having failed to shift all their availability so far. After tickets initially went on sale to season ticket holders and members with points only, they have now been released on general sale where anyone can now snap up a pair of tickets. As was said before day one of ticket sales - anyone that wants tickets will be able to get them without difficulties. Reading fans have until tomorrow (Friday) at 3pm to buy through SEE tickets, and the game could yet be a sell out. <br/><br/> It feels like it has been a long time since Reading fans <a href="http://www.royals.org/matchreport/160517/Reading_1_Fulham_0">spilled onto the Madjski Stadium pitch to celebrate victory over Fulham</a>. Reading fans will be hoping it has been long enough for Jordan Obita to make a recovery from the injury he picked up in the first leg. The Royals owe at lot to Obita whose amazing performance in the first leg, including the vital goal in the 1-1 draw, set-up Reading nicely for the second leg. There has been some good news with Obita re-starting training today and Jaap Stam confirming that he may be fit for Monday. So Obita remains a maybe. Meanwhile McShane is a definately not as he remains suspended following his straight red card for a high tackle in the match at Craven Cottage. All the players that earned our place at Wembley last Tuesday will be available for selection - and Gareth McCleary will be back to full strength after returning from injury with an appearance off the substitutes bench during that game. <h3>Reading's Previous Play-Off Final Appearances</h3> <table border="0" class="fixtures" cellpadding="1" cellspacing="2" width="100%" style="border:0"> <tr> <td class="fixtures" bgcolor="#CCCCFF"><b>DATE</b></td> <td class="fixtures" bgcolor="#CCCCFF"><b>COMPETITION</b></td> <td class="fixtures" bgcolor="#CCCCFF"><b>OPPOSITION</b></td> <td class="fixtures" bgcolor="#CCCCFF"><b>SCORE</b></td> <td class="fixtures" bgcolor="#CCCCFF"><b>REPORT</b></td> </tr> <tr> <td class="fixtures">30 May 2011</td> <td class="fixtures">Championship Play-Off Final</td> <td class="fixtures"> <a href="http://www.royals.org/matdoc/300511.html">Swansea City (Wembley)</a> </td> <td class="fixtures"><span style="color:#FF0000;">L: 2-4</span></td> <td class="fixtures"> <a href="http://www.royals.org/matdoc/300511.html">Read report...</a> </td> </tr> <tr> <td class="fixtures">27 May 2001</td> <td class="fixtures">Division Two Play-Off Final</td> <td class="fixtures"> <a href="http://www.royals.org/matdoc/270501.html">Walsall (Millenium Stadium)</a> </td> <td class="fixtures"><span style="color:#FF0000;">L: 2-3</span></td> <td class="fixtures"> <a href="http://www.royals.org/matdoc/270501.html">Read report...</a> </td> </tr> <tr> <td class="fixtures">29 May 1995</td> <td class="fixtures">Division One Play-Off Final</td> <td class="fixtures"> <a href="http://www.royals.org/matdoc/290595.html">Bolton Wanderers (Wembley)</a> </td> <td class="fixtures"><span style="color:#FF0000;">L: 3-4</span></td> <td class="fixtures"> <a href="http://www.royals.org/matdoc/290595.html">Read report...</a> </td> </tr> </table> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3>Recent Meetings With Huddersfield Town</h3> <table border="0" class="fixtures" cellpadding="1" cellspacing="2" width="100%" style="border:0"> <tr> <td class="fixtures" bgcolor="#CCCCFF"><b>DATE</b></td> <td class="fixtures" bgcolor="#CCCCFF"><b>COMPETITION</b></td> <td class="fixtures" bgcolor="#CCCCFF"><b>OPPOSITION</b></td> <td class="fixtures" bgcolor="#CCCCFF"><b>SCORE</b></td> <td class="fixtures" bgcolor="#CCCCFF"><b>REPORT</b></td> </tr> <tr> <td class="fixtures">21 February 2017 </td> <td class="fixtures">Championship</td> <td class="fixtures"> <a href="/matdoc/210217.html">Huddersfield (Away)</a> </td> <td class="fixtures"><span style="color:#FF0000;">L: 0-1</span></td> <td class="fixtures"> <a href="/matdoc/210217.html">Read report...</a> </td> </tr> <tr> <td class="fixturesh">24 September 2016 </td> <td class="fixturesh">Championship</td> <td class="fixturesh"> <a href="/matdoc/240916.html">Huddersfield (HOME)</a> </td> <td class="fixturesh"><span style="color:#0000FF;"><b>W:</b> 1-0</span></td> <td class="fixturesh"> <a href="/matdoc/240916.html">Read report...</a> </td> </tr> <tr> <td class="fixtures">08 March 2016 </td> <td class="fixtures">Championship</td> <td class="fixtures"> <a href="/matdoc/080316.html">Huddersfield (Away)</a> </td> <td class="fixtures"><span style="color:#FF0000;">L: 1-3</span></td> <td class="fixtures"> <a href="/matdoc/080316.html">Read report...</a> </td> </tr> <tr> <td class="fixturesh">19 January 2016 </td> <td class="fixturesh">FA Cup</td> <td class="fixturesh"> <a href="/matdoc/190116.html">Huddersfield (HOME)</a> </td> <td class="fixturesh"><span style="color:#0000FF;"><b>W:</b> 5-2</span></td> <td class="fixturesh"> <a href="/matdoc/190116.html">Read report...</a> </td> </tr> <tr> <td class="fixtures">09 January 2016 </td> <td class="fixtures">FA Cup</td> <td class="fixtures"> <a href="/matdoc/090116.html">Huddersfield (Away)</a> </td> <td class="fixtures"><span style="color:#000000;">D: 2-2</span></td> <td class="fixtures"> <a href="/matdoc/090116.html">Read report...</a> </td> </tr> <tr> <td class="fixturesh">03 November 2015 </td> <td class="fixturesh">Championship</td> <td class="fixturesh"> <a href="/matdoc/031115.html">Huddersfield (HOME)</a> </td> <td class="fixturesh"><span style="color:#000000;">D: 2-2</span></td> <td class="fixturesh"> <a href="/matdoc/031115.html">Read report...</a> </td> </tr> <tr> <td class="fixtures">24 February 2015 </td> <td class="fixtures">Championship</td> <td class="fixtures"> <a href="/matdoc/240215.html">Huddersfield (Away)</a> </td> <td class="fixtures"><span style="color:#FF0000;">L: 0-3</span></td> <td class="fixtures"> <a href="/matdoc/240215.html">Read report...</a> </td> </tr> <tr> <td class="fixtures">03 January 2015 </td> <td class="fixtures">FA Cup</td> <td class="fixtures"> <a href="/matdoc/030115.html">Huddersfield (Away)</a> </td> <td class="fixtures"><span style="color:#0000FF;"><b>W:</b> 1-0</span></td> <td class="fixtures"> <a href="/matdoc/030115.html">Read report...</a> </td> </tr> <tr> <td class="fixturesh">19 August 2014 </td> <td class="fixturesh">Championship</td> <td class="fixturesh"> <a href="/matdoc/190814.html">Huddersfield (HOME)</a> </td> <td class="fixturesh"><span style="color:#FF0000;">L: 1-2</span></td> <td class="fixturesh"> <a href="/matdoc/190814.html">Read report...</a> </td> </tr> <tr> <td class="fixturesh">29 March 2014 </td> <td class="fixturesh">Championship</td> <td class="fixturesh"> <a href="/matdoc/290314.html">Huddersfield (HOME)</a> </td> <td class="fixturesh"><span style="color:#000000;">D: 1-1</span></td> <td class="fixturesh"> <a href="/matdoc/290314.html">Read report...</a> </td> </tr> <tr> <td class="fixtures">14 December 2013 </td> <td class="fixtures">Championship</td> <td class="fixtures"> <a href="/matdoc/141213.html">Huddersfield (Away)</a> </td> <td class="fixtures"><span style="color:#0000FF;"><b>W:</b> 1-0</span></td> <td class="fixtures"> <a href="/matdoc/141213.html">Read report...</a> </td> </tr> </table> http://www.royals.org/news/676/Misery_Or_Joy_Waits_For_Royals_At_Wembley 676 Thu, 25 May 2017 15:30:23 BST Hob Nob Anyone? Second Leg Victory: Things We Learned <p> On Tuesday evening, Jaap Stam's Reading side proved everyone wrong by securing a place in the play-off final. Ultimately the game was settled by a Yann Kermorgant penalty and some resolute defending from the home side.<br /> Here is what we learned from the game:</p> <p> <strong>Que Sera Sera...</strong> <br /> <br /> After the last two seasons, no one expected Reading to be anywhere near the promotion places come the end of the season. The Royals continue to be written off but time and time again have shown what they are capable of.<br /> Fulham were the clear favourites going into the play-off semi-finals, with commentary making it sound like there was only ever going to be one winner (and it wasn't going to be Reading).&nbsp;</p> <p> Instead two strong performances from the Royals mean that they have booked their place at Wembley. Yep that's right. We're going to Wembley!</p> <p><strong>Will Williams Stay?</strong> <br /> <br /> The contract discussions with Danny Williams have been a talking point for a while now, but his performances in recent times have meant that it has become all the more important.<br /> Williams has been a standout performer in the play-offs, with many seeing him as a vital player for the squad going forwards. Last night the club announced the new owners are now in place and the team have a great opportunity to make it into the Premier League. Could this mean a new contract is on the horizon?</p> <p><strong>Takes A Team</strong> <br /> <br /> One thing that was abundantly clear on Tuesday evening was the team spirit that exists in the Reading squad.&nbsp;<br /> <br /> Usually this season, there are a couple of players that standout in a game. The play-offs, however, seem to have brought out the best in the players all over the pitch.&nbsp;</p> <p> Tiago Ilori hasn't played much this season, but slotted into the defence in place of Paul McShane perfectly. Lewis Grabban has had his critics but demonstrated the threat he could be when played up front. George Evans near single-handedly prevented Tom Cairney from making his usual impact on the game. The list goes on.<br /> <br /> What the performance of the team, and these players in particular, showed was the strength in depth this Reading squad has and the belief they have in each other. Outside commentators may like to remark about the lack of quality in the Reading squad, but this season just shows what you can achieve when you all pull together.</p> <p><strong>What Happened To John Swift?</strong> <br /> <br /> One player who is a concern, however, is John Swift. While all the other players seem to be stepping up at this crucial time, Swift seems to be going backwards.<br /> Perhaps we have unrealistic expectations of him based on his performances earlier in the season - He is still young after all. That said, everyone knows what he is capable of and his standards have dropped significantly in recent times.&nbsp;<br /> Poor touches, the frequency he lost the ball and the shot fired straight at the goalkeeper from point blank range epitomized Swift's performance on Tuesday evening. Based on his recent performances, I for one would seriously consider playing Williams, Kelly and Evans in the centre of midfield in the final.</p> <p><strong>Finally An Atmosphere!</strong><br /> <br /> One thing you can be certain of is that Reading fans will turn out in mass for big games. Tuesday evening's fixture was the definition of a big game and low and behold the fans came out to support.<br /> There were flags, there was fire but most importantly there was plenty of cheering from the home fans. The atmosphere was unlike anything I had ever witnessed at the Madejski, especially just before kick-off and the closing moments of the game.&nbsp;<br /> <br /> Now the aim will be to replicate it all again, this time at Wembley!</p> http://www.royals.org/news/675/Second_Leg_Victory:_Things_We_Learned 675 Wed, 17 May 2017 14:31:13 BST Alex Bower Play Off Final Tickets Go On Sale At 9am Tickets for Reading's visit to Wembley Stadium for the Championship play-off final go on sale at 9am tomorrow morning (Thursday 18 May). The Royals will face either Sheffield Wednesday or Huddersfield, who play their second leg this evening, in the final on Monday 29 May. The Royals have a huge allocation of 38,342 tickets - which means that every Reading fan should have no problem getting a ticket. <br/><br/> Ticket sales open tomorrow for all season tickets holders for this season and next season. Season ticket holders will be able to purchase two tickets against their account. Members with over 750 points will also be able to purchase a ticket each. <br/><br/> On Friday morning remaining tickets go on sale to all member card holders with over 25 points who will be able to buy two tickets each. Those with over 50 points can buy four tickets each and season ticket holders who have already purchased tickets will be able to buy more for friends and family. <br/><br/> Tickets are priced in five categories ranging from &pound;36 to &pound;98. With big allocations of tickets for any existing supporters and such a large allocation of tickets available there really should be no problems getting a ticket even if you can't on the Thursday. <br/><br/> Blocks 105 to 108 are allocated at the family area and blocks 109 to 114 are the suggested singing blocks. http://www.royals.org/news/674/Play_Off_Final_Tickets_Go_On_Sale_At_9am 674 Wed, 17 May 2017 12:48:24 BST Hob Nob Anyone? Club Sneak Out Takeover Completion News The club picked the night of Reading's epic play-off semi-final victory over Fulham to sneak out news that the Chinese takeover had finally been approved by the Football League and had completed. The news was released at the most bizarre time possible, during the game itself, and was of course completely overshadowed by Yann Kermorgant's penalty sending the Royals to Wembley on 29 May 2017. It is not clear why the club appear keen to keep the deal under the radar but it certainly felt as if they were trying not to draw attention to the takeover. The deal is massive news for Reading Football Club but was, as you would expect, immediately submerged by reporting on Reading's massive victory and shot at the Premier League a week Monday. <Br/><br/> The core of the takeover detail was revealed in very few words: "Reading Football Club are delighted to confirm that Chinese brother and sister, Dai Yongge and Dai Xiu Li, have become the majority shareholders at the club. Our existing shareholders will retain a minority shareholding in the club. The club have gained EFL approval for the change in majority shareholder and our new Chinese shareholders have taken up their position at Reading Football Club. " <br/><br/> It is well known that the Dai's have already contributed financially to the Royals this season, lending the club money in time for the January transfer window ahead of the takeover going through. That loan appears to signal that the Chinese are happy to invest into the club. <br/><br/> The club statement also contained support from Nigel Howe to tell Reading fans the takeover is a good thing for the club: "Dai Yongge and Dai Xiu Li are investing in a club with undoubted potential - investment which will benefit not only the first team squad, but which will also help to improve the club's training facilities, continue to support its Category One Academy programme and actively assist in delivering plans to develop the Royal Elm Park proposal. We are very pleased to welcome them to Reading." <br/><br/> The Football League have also released a short statement to confirm the takeover: "The EFL can confirm that they have no objections to the change of control application made by Reading. Following a full review of the transaction, the EFL has insisted upon - and the club/new owners have agreed - to a number of additional reporting requirements including enhanced financial monitoring, so as to ensure that their performance is consistent with the application we have considered. We would like to wish the new majority shareholders Mr Yongge Dai and Miss Xui Li Dai the very best of luck in their future endeavours with the club." <br/><br/> If things go Reading's way on 29 May, Dai Yongge and Dai Xiu Li will find themselves in control of a Premier League club. It is will be interesting to see the level of investment either way. http://www.royals.org/news/673/Club_Sneak_Out_Takeover_Completion_News 673 Wed, 17 May 2017 09:13:31 BST Hob Nob Anyone? Kermorgant Penalty Fires Reading Into Play-Off Final On a truly memorable evening at the Madejski Stadium Reading rose to the occasion to overcome favourites Fulham and progress to within touching distance of the Premier League. Yann Kermorgant's forty-ninth minute penalty gave Reading a deserved lead setting up an almost unbearably tense second half as a talented Fulham side threw everything at Reading in search of an equaliser which never came. Ultimately it was a magnificent disciplined defensive display which secured their place in the Championship Play-Off Final. At the final whistle jubilant home fans swarmed all over the pitch in spite of futile attempt by stewards to keep them in their seats. They were not going to be denied their moment of celebration, and rightly so because they too had been magnificent throughout. <br/> <a href="http://www.royals.org/matchreport/160517/Reading_1_Fulham_0"><strong>Read More...</strong></a> <ul> <li><A href="http://www.royals.org/matchreport/160517/Reading_1_Fulham_0"><strong>Match Report:</strong> Reading 1 Fulham 0 (Agg: 2-1)</li> </ul> http://www.royals.org/news/672/Kermorgant_Penalty_Fires_Reading_Into_Play-Off_Final 672 Wed, 17 May 2017 08:32:32 BST Hob Nob Anyone? Play-Off Second Leg: Huge Night Ahead They don't come much bigger than this. Reading face Fulham at the Madejski Stadium this evening in the second leg of the play-off semi-final, with the prize being a trip to Wembley for a shot at promotion to the Premier League. Both Fulham and Reading will fancy their chances of securing the win for a huge day out, in a fixture that has to be settled tonight. The Royals did all that was asked of them on Saturday evening, leaving Craven Cottage with a 1-1 draw to bring the tie back to the Madejski Stadium, and get home advantage, on level terms. It feels like we are half way there and on track to finish the job, but Fulham won't be too disappointed with the draw in the first leg and have their excellent away form this season to call on. <br/><br/> Things couldn't have looked better for the Royals on Saturday when the excellent Jordan Obita put Reading ahead on 53 mintues with a fantastic low effort from the left that found the back of the net off the far post. With an hour gone Reading had looked comfortable and we dared dream of bringing a win back home. However, Fulham equalised from Cairney with 65 minutes on the clock. Paul McShane was given a straight red on 80 minutes for a late challenge with his foot way off the ground, but Reading held firm despite playing with ten men. The great result was overshadowed by Jordan Obita staying on the floor after the referee's final whistle with what looked like could be a serious injury to his ankle. <br/><Br/> Paul McShane will definitely be missing through suspension and Obtia remains a doubt after that late injury. Ilori came off the bench after McShane's sending off on Saturday and will now most likely start in McShane's place. Stam will have to shuffle around his defence, but we will all be hoping Obita has recovered after such an important role on Saturday. Gareth McCleary was an unused substitute on Saturday after coming back from injury but seems almost certain to play a part tonight. <br/><Br/> Reading finished the season with the best home record in the entire Championship after winning 16 of our 23 home fixtures during the regular season. That impressive set of wins of course included a 1-0 victory over Fulham. Fulham's away record was only bettered by Champions Newcastle United. Impressive as it may be, the statistics still point to a Reading victory. However, the bookmakers still disagree, and it is Fulham listed as favourites to complete the win over Reading and go on to Wembley. <br/><Br/> The tie is so finely balanced that anything could happen - and probably will. It should be quite some night at the Madejski Stadium. Away goals don't count in the play-offs so if the game is drawn, whatever the scoreline, the game will go to extra-time and potentially penalties. You wouldn't bet against the game going the distance. It's a game you really wouldn't want to miss, which makes it amazing that Reading have been unable to sell out the fixture. Tickets are still available to buy on-line and by telephone for both the Upper West and the South Stand. http://www.royals.org/news/671/Play-Off_Second_Leg:_Huge_Night_Ahead_ 671 Tue, 16 May 2017 14:03:03 BST Hob Nob Anyone?