FANS of Reading FC have expressed their concerns after reports of an accepted ownership bid from British businessman William Storey surfaced on Wednesday night.
According to The Telegraph, Royals owner Dai Yongge has “broadly agreed” terms of a £50 million sale of the football club, in a deal which includes the Select Car Leasing Stadium and the Bearwood Park training facility.
The proposed deal would also see club debts cleared and investment into new players, but fans are sceptical about Mr Storey’s advances due to his company, Rich Energy’s short-lived sponsorship deal with F1 team Haas. His previous attempts to buy Sunderland and Coventry were denied.
But Sell Before We Dai (SBWD), a fan-led campaign group looking to remove Mr Dai, has stated its apprehension of the bid.
Nick Houlton, spokesperson for SBWD, said: “When we set up Sell Before We Dai, we didn’t want to be just another protest group. We wanted to make fan voices heard and fight for a solution to football’s ownership problem.
“To say we have our reservations about William Storey is an understatement. He has zero experience in football, his foray into F1 ended acrimoniously, and his previous bids, including this one, have been characterised as attention seeking.
“His bid also lacks transparency. The funding is not entirely out of his own pocket and his communication with fans has been a concerning mixture of antagonistic and publicly cryptic.”
For Mr Storey to take over the Berkshire club, he must now pass the EFL’s owners and directors test, part of which will include proving he has sufficient funds to step into the role.
“So it’s over to the EFL,” Mr Houlton added. “Thanks to the actions of Reading supporters, as well as other fan groups, the EFL’s fit and proper owners test will face more scrutiny than ever before.
“Politicians are watching, the national media are watching, football is watching. We cannot rebound from one bad owner to another. We cannot go from the frying pan and into the fire. We cannot be let down again.”