Former Reading manager Paul Ince has sympathised with the current staff, claiming that the club has ‘lost its soul’.
Ince saved the Royals from relegation in the Championship in the 2021/22 season after taking charge on an interim basis.
After taking the job permanently in May 2022, Ince was eventually dismissed in April 2023 after a run of eight games without a win and the club in the Championship relegation zone.
Having dropped down to League One, Ince reflected on his time with the Royals and analysed their current campaign under Ruben Selles, speaking to instantcasino.com.
He said: “I know how tiring it can be managing a team under a transfer embargo where you can’t buy any players and you’ve got the lowest budget in the league.
“If you look at all the players who left when I left, they’ve lost the soul of the club, the leaders in the dressing room and that’s down to those who work above.
“It’s a sorry state of affairs and I feel for Ruben Selles because I know how tough it is managing the club, even though I love the club and the fans, it’s going to be a tough year this year.
“It’s imperative that they stay in this league, it really, really is.
“It’s going to be a really hard year to get out [of relegation] and I really hope they can. It’s a fantastic club with some fantastic fans and it needs new investors.
“You just feel for the people who’ve worked there for years, and I’ve heard stories of people being made redundant and you’ve got to feel for them.
“That’s been their life and soul for twenty to thirty years. I still speak to people who work at the club and it’s not a great feeling at Reading at the moment. It must be tough for the manager and the players, but they’ve just got to try and put that to the side.
“It’s so easy to say that though, to tell them it’s not their problem, you just do what you need to do on the football pitch, it’s tough.
“When I was there, we knew we were getting the six points with five games to go, all the players are talking about it and it’s hard not to.
“It’s hard for them not to talk about it, whether it be in the changing room, the training pitch, the canteen, it’s almost impossible to avoid situations that are going on in the club – that’s when you start losing focus on the football pitch.”
Ince praised Selles for his work, but reiterated the importance of someone buying the club in the near future.
He continued: “ “They’ve got a very good manager and a young team. The next four of five games are going be pivotal in seeing where they are going to go.
“Maybe that’s the issue and why no one is buying the club at this point in time, I’m not sure what the owners are asking for it currently.
“If you were to buy it, you’d want them to be mid-table where there are no issues about moving down and where there’s scope to build.
“If a club costs £20 million in League One, it’ll cost £10 million in League Two, so why would you spend £20 million on a club that’s about to move down? That’s why the investors will be waiting to see where they are, but I think we’re a long way from that.
“I’ve heard of a few parties that are interested but there’s nothing concrete so the most important thing for Reading is to keep fighting to get out of relegation situation and stay in the league – and they can.
“They can put some good results together, I’ve watched them a couple of times and they can play some really good stuff, they’re just a bit naïve because they’re so young.
“The remit has to be to stay in the league, if you can do that and get someone to invest in the club who wants to take them forward, then that’ll make me happy, but until then it’s going to be a struggle.”