Can Reading ever become a 'big club'?By Jonny Fordham
January 31, 2013
This month marks a year since Anton Zingarevich began his takeover at Reading.
Just 12 months ago, the Russian’s cash allowed Royals to sign Jason Roberts, the striker who set the club on the road to the Championship title.
Twelve months on, and Reading fans are praying that Zingarevich can come up with the goods in the current transfer window..
But would it help Reading become a so-called ‘big club’ in the top-flight? Boss Brian McDermott admits there is still some way until Royals can earn that moniker, instead, he prefers to call the project a work in progress.
He said: “We’re a Barclays Premier League club, obviously, but you can argue who is a big club and who is not.
“We get 24,000 every week, which is great when you consider where we were three years ago – with a 12/13,000 average.
“We’re a developing club I would say. We’re trying to become bigger, create our own history and we’ve won two Championships now. We’re getting better.
“Would I say we’re a big club? Probably not, but we’re a developing club.”
Royals’ relegation rivals Queens Park Rangers, Southampton and Newcastle United are splashing the cash as they fight off the drop.
With the likes of Wigan Athletic, Aston Villa and Royals attempting to keep track of their financial outlay.
The formula to Premier League title success is far from complicated, with McDermott stressing that the club’s future will never be jeopardised chasing the dream.
“The rich clubs generally end up at the top, that’s kind of how it works.
“We do what we have to do. We are a club which is important to me. We haven’t got debt and we work within our means and we do the best we possibly can to be a good club.
“I think we are a good, well-run club and there’s sustainability here and believability which is important to me.
“You look at this league and the majority of the time, people just talk about money. Everyone talks about ‘staying in this league’, why? It’s the money.
“I don’t look at it like that. We want to get better and be a good club, work together and if you do all those things, the money will come.
“We have solid foundations, we’ve always lived within our means. I think we have done a good job to be competitive.
“Can Reading break into one of these clubs, from where we are, with crowds of 24,000? Probably not.
“It would be very very difficult. Look over the years when Nottingham Forest used to win the league, you can’t see that happened again.
“You can see Arsenal, Chelsea, Man United, Man City, Liverpool, Tottenham doing it – then you say who could win the league after that?”
Royals own plans for expanding Madejski Stadium seem to be on hold, for now.
A new training ground has taken preference for the moment with the club keen to develop a site just outside of Aldermaston to provide state-of-the-art facilities and a Category 1 Academy.
Like chairman Sir John Madejski, it appears that Zingarevich is keen to develop and continue a legacy at Reading.
And after working closely with the 30-year-old Russian for the past year, McDermott admits that the change at the top has been minimal. He added: “Anton bought a club because of the philosophy.
“He was never going to throw lots and lots of money at it. He liked the model of the club, that’s why he bought it.
“There’s no point coming in, liking the model of the club and changing everything. It hasn’t changed too much.
“The chairman, Sir John, is very much a figure head as well, he’s still here. At the time in January last year you never knew what to expect. Time is the great thing on that. It has proven to be good for all of us.”