Former Reading FC boss Sir John Madejski urges fans to support the club's owner Dai Yongge

  • Watch ITV News Meridian's interview with Sir John Madejski

Sir John Madejski, the former chairman of Reading FC is urging fans to support the club's owner, Dai Yongge, despite calls from some fans to sell up.

The Royals, who were relegated from the Championship last season, have been served a winding-up petition by HMRC, over unpaid tax bills. 

They are also facing a string of charges handed down by the English Football League, including failing to pay staff, and players, on time.

Sir John has spoken for the first time about the current troubles facing the club.

Patience has run out amongst some fans - do you agree a change in ownership is needed?

"First of all, I know nothing really, I’m not privy to what’s going on at Reading FC.

"However I share the deep concerns and frustrations of the fans and my sympathy goes out to all the loyal staff, many of whom have been here for many many years and this uncertainty is very very bad for morale here and so on."

But what about a change in ownership, would that help the situation?

"Well, it’s up to Mr Dai. Now what we’ve got to respect about Mr Dai is that he has owned the club since 2017, for six years. 

"His prelude to Reading FC wasn’t exactly great. I’ve only met him once and that was in passing at Wembley when we took on Huddersfield in the Championship final and we lost of course, and that was Mr Dai’s welcome to Reading FC, if you like, his first game.

"Since then Mr Dai has put in well over £200 million in six years and I think we should respect that fact, he may have got it wrong in terms of the people, however, we do have arguably one of the best training grounds in the country and I think to demonstrate against Mr Dai is not the right thing to do.

"I think we should work with Mr Dai, because I’m sure that if Mr Dai no longer wants to participate in Reading FC, if some of the fans know some really deep-pocketed well-heeled people to take over Reading FC then send the names and addresses to the football club so they can pass on that information to Mr Dai.

"Football’s not easy, we’re going through a tremendously difficult time universally as I speak and I think we’ve all got to work together, that’s my opinion."

You oversaw the most successful period in Reading’s history, it’s got to hurt to see the club in the state that it’s in.

"Well of course but I owned the club for about 26 years and I’m not here to say I told you so or anything like that.

"I’m just here to try and help. And as I say my sympathies are with the fans and indeed with the loyal staff, many of whom are good friends of mine that I’ve known over the years.

"I just want to see Reading FC survive in the best way possible and I think the only way to achieve that is by working together.

"Obviously a buyer is necessary, I would have thought, however, we’ve just got to do our best in the meantime and hope and pray that either Mr Dai comes up with the dosh or we find another deep-pocketed person to take over Reading FC."

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