Date:Monday June 17 2013
Anton Zingarevich became involved with Reading Football Club in January 2012 and completed his majority takeover of the Berkshire side at the end of May that year. When it was publicised the Russian billionaire would be involved with the club, many asked questions due to his unknown background and undisclosed reasons why he could not take over Everton eight years earlier.
Thames Sports Investments, led by Zingarevich, passed the Premier League fit and proper persons test, putting some minds at rest. Despite this, some fans were still not totally convinced and with the club not spending masses last summer, questioned his commitment. However, here are five reasons that sum up why Zingarevich has been and will continue to be good for the club. Unfortunately, I couldn`t put in enough detail to make Katsia a reason!
1. INVOLVEMENT - One factor that massively differed from the stewardship of Sir John Madejski is Anton`s involvement in many of the club`s affairs. Anton attended nearly all of the first team games in the previous season and at the other end of the spectrum, he was attended a large amount of the youth games - this speaks volumes for me. He is also a man that carries a good football knowledge compared to most chairmen in the game and openly has involvement in the clubs recruitment - I have no problem with this, as long as Adkins doesn`t. you can say the Pogrebnyak signing may have been too much of a coincidence, but Brian would have been a fool to turn down his services.
2. AMBITION - I will go onto this realist ambition further down, but his overall ambition for the club in the short and long term, he makes very public and open. The first sign of his ambition was making some very early signings in January 2012, before he had even officially taken over the club. The signing of Jason Roberts was probably the most notable of these and ultimately gave the club the needed boost to push on and win the Championship just under four months later. Zingarevich also spoke of plans to expand the stadium, but not aimlessly, analysing how we could attract fans from the Thames Valley area. More recently, Anton has forwarded plans to build a brand-new state-of-the-art training ground in Bearwood, as well as pushing our case for Category One academy status. I can see much more ambition and progress further down the line.
3. MONEY - This was not a massive feature of Sir John Madejski`s tenure as owner, but certainly an aspect I won`t criticise him for, keeping the finances stable for a man of Anton`s stature to take over. In all fairness, Anton hasn`t exactly put many millions in, but an estimated £7 million in transfer fees alone suggests slow, but solid transfer investment. After the sacking of Brian McDermott, he admitted that more transfers should have been made, but refused to take the blame solely himself, hinting at naivety from Nigel Adkins` predecessor. Bridge and Drenthe would certainly have affected the wage bill and show massive ambition early on, I would certainly watch this space in terms of big transfers, I don`t think Anton and Nigel are done just yet.
4. REALIST, NOT OPTIMIST - This draws on slightly from my previous point of ambition, but what has struck me with Anton, is that he will always be realistic. When questioned about relegation half way through the season, I remember him saying "we`ll just go and get promoted again". Anton is a football man; he understands the way it works and that staying up was going to be a massive task for the club of our size. He will learn from our mistakes from the season gone and will know better second time round. Anton has never made ridiculous claims, wanting us to be a Champions League club in five years, as the Forest chairman has said. In three words, down to earth.
5. MANAGERIAL DECISIONS - This is probably what most chairmen are known for and out of the two big choices Anton has had to make, he has got both right. After ten games without a win, some chairmen would have made an early change, it would have been harsh, but Anton opted not to. After a seven-game losing streak in November & December, signs of mismanagement, obvious signs of tactical naivety and with January approaching, he still stood by McDermott. Zingarevich`s leniency was justified, when a sudden upturn in form took the Royals out of the relegation zone, but was short lived. Following another losing streak of four games, falling to relegation rivals Wigan and Aston Villa at home, Anton made the correct decision to sack Brian, contrary to the public`s perception. McDermott had to go. The next decision Anton had to make was to appoint a successor. The two names firmly in contention from the start were Gus Poyet and Nigel Adkins, two managers renowned for their attractive philosophy of football. After Poyet`s rejection, Adkins was appointed manager at the end of March, given mission impossible of saving the Royals. The former Southampton boss may not have been able to save us, but the improvement in the style of play was evident, despite no real change in terms of results. Credit must go to Anton for not taking the easy option of appointing Dolan for the rest of the season, instead starting the Adkins era early on - a move that could well make the difference for the upcoming season.
Date:Monday June 17 2013
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