Roundup: The TSI Investment in Reading FCBy: Ben | January 24th, 2012
Hold on to your hats kids, for this is the big ‘un.
Zingarevich, bloke in the middle.
Read on for more on out glorious Russian leader.
First off, apologies for not greeting this with the due attention it deserved over the weekend as it broke. My final year dissertation (as much as I try to disagree) takes precedence over pretty much everything in my life. Why didn’t I do it on the prudent finances of Reading? Bah.
So, on Friday night Reading fans were treated to a statement from John Madejski that claimed a tentative deal with an investment group named Thames Sport Investment LTD had been agreed. From this point, it was pretty unclear what it meant for the club, but over the past few days we have a much clearer outlook.
Sir John, at the helm of the club for the past 21 years has entered a Heads of Agreement deal with TSI, believed to be a consortium lead by Russian Anton Zingarevich. TSI will take 51% of the club, and have asked Madejski to stay on as Chairman until at least 2014, with the opportunity to become Lifetime President as and when he retires. TSI have met with Brian McDermott and Nicky Hammond and assured them of their intentions to run the club as similarly to how it has been over Madejski’s tenure. The big kicker is there have been confirmed funds available for the January window. Schweet.
When you get down to it, this seems like a win-win situation for the club. Zingarevich and TSI have seemingly good intentions, and emphasise that they want to keep the club operating as prudently and sensibly in the market as it has been over the past couple of years. They’ve recognised the club’s reputation for good business, and wish to continue contributing to that part of the club’s history. By asking Madejski to stay on, TSI have perhaps taken the intimidating edge away. This isn’t an invasion, it’s a collaboration. That having been said, from what Madejski’s been saying, it doesn’t look like he’ll continue as chairman past 2014. Fingers crossed it’s all dandy until that time.
With Brian, Nick and SJM still in their positions we know there won’t be any Leicester-esque spending, which is fantastic. That club is so unattractive. What is clear is that Zingarevich and TSI are truly interested in getting Reading back to the Premiership and as soon as possible. They’ve offered funds for this window immediately after signing this very premature deal. It’s a signal of intent, and I’m over the moon for McDermott, who’s likely never had such scope for movement in the window. He’s sensible enough not to want to disrupt the team with huge signings too. TSI have also spoken of their desire to keep our better players and continue improving our academy development and scouting network. Excellent.
The deal in which TSI will take 51% of the club’s shares isn’t set to be completed until March of this year. Until that time, there’s plenty to look forward to as a Reading fan. It’s strange to think of us a club that has the power to strengthen in the market without having to look to the lower leagues, or have to worry about our best players leaving in the summer to fill that blasted black hole. Unfortunately, it’s come too late to stop Sigurdsson and Long leaving. Both are now plying their trade in the Prem, dayum. From this interview on the BBC with Sir John, Anton Zingarevich seems like a pretty decent bloke too. He’s a 28 year old Russian, and studied sport management locally at Bearwood College in Wokingham, and as far as my internet scouting shows, went to university in Reading too. He nearly dealt in Everton a few years back, and has a keen interest in sport. He fronts the Investment company, and has the club’s welfare in his heart, believing to have been taken aback by the club in his time at Berkshire. There’s been no word from Zingarevich himself, but with TSI meeting the media this afternoon (Tuesday) I’d imagine it won’t be too long now.
So ultimately, the club will continue as it has, just with a bit more money. Fucking, what?
Exciting times, my friends.