Sir John Madejski has confirmed he is not in a position to buy Reading Football Club, but admitted that the “idea appealed to him”.
Speaking to BBC Radio Berkshire’s Andrew Peach on Friday morning, the former Royals chairman discussed the club’s ongoing ownership quandary following the announcement that owner Dai Yongge was open to selling.
He also praised Reading Borough Council and the Supporters Trust at Reading’s work to grant the the Select Car Leasing Stadium, formerly known as the Madejski Stadium, Asset of Community Value status.
When asked if he was interested in stepping in to buy the club, Sir John said: “As much as the idea appeals to me, I just haven’t got the funds to do it. I support Reading Football Club, always will do, and I think my contribution to Reading FC goes before [me].
“It’s time for someone younger than me to take over the reins and put their back into it and make it work. It’s a tremendous opportunity, one which I think can work.”
Fans have called for Mr Dai to sell up following points deductions in three consecutive seasons, unpaid HMRC tax bills and late payment of wages.
Earlier this year, Sir John urged fans to continue supporting the Chinese businessman, owing to the sheer amount of money he had invested into the club, but his stance appeared to have since changed.
Speaking about the club’s current predicament, he said: “It’s absolutely diabolical. My heart goes out to all the fans and all the wonderful people who work at Reading FC who have been so loyal to the club for many, many years.
“Quite frankly the situation is so dire and so absolutely without reason or even sense because if Mr Dai had only bothered local people on the ground, this could have all been averted many years ago.
“His wrongdoing was getting advice from people who had no affinity with Reading FC. These amazing, high-flying, international agents.”
Sir John went on to describe the club as a “good bargain” for a potential buyer, suggesting that Mr Dai could be willing to sell for £20 million and that Reading could be heading into receivership, a process whereby a receiving officer would step in to manage the club.
He added that he and former CEO Nigel Howe had been speaking to parties who might be interested in purchasing the Royals.
Thursday’s decision for the council to safeguard the Select Car Leasing Stadium, Reading FC’s home ground, by granting it ACV status was welcomed by the man who first built it. He said he “applauded” the local authority and fans’ work in making it happen.