Former Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley is not interested in taking over struggling League One club Reading, but instead willing to pump money into the Select Car Leasing Stadium, according to The Sun.
Rumours that the business tycoon was interested in acquiring the Royals surfaced in October when pictures of a Frasers Group helicopter emerged parked outside the stadium. It sparked an online debate as to whether the 59-year-old was interested in launching a bid for the club and buying out current owner Dai Yongge.
The Chinese businessman hit the headlines for the wrong reasons again earlier this week when it was revealed that some of the club’s staff were not paid in full, a decision taken by CEO Dayong Pang, prompting manager Ruben Selles to speak out on the situation;
“We are in a position we don’t want to be.
“Unfortunately the CEO made the decision to pay the players fully and only partially the staff because of the financial situation of the club.
“Strategically, we can understand because we don’t get a points deduction but the human and moral things, we know it’s not the correct thing to do but it’s not my call and myself and the staff don’t get what they deserve for the hard work they put in.”
Protests continue against their current ownership from supporters and it was hoped that Ashley would be the man to come in and save the club, who currently sit 23rd in League One and are staring down the barrel of a second successive relegation. However, it has now been claimed that this isn’t the case.
Instead, the former Magpies owner is interested in buying the Select Car Leasing Stadium in a move similar to that that saw him purchase Coventry City’s CBS Arena in 2022.
Reading are hoping to secure a spot in the potentially lucrative FA Cup third round this afternoon when they take on non-league Eastleigh at the Silverlake Stadium. More protests are expected in their League One clash with Barnsley next weekend.
Reading fans will be wondering when this nightmare will end. There has to be a point when the EFL step in and the Royals are one of a number of clubs in recent times that have had to endure the results of continued poor ownership.
Mike Ashley would be the ideal person to take over the club, despite his poor reputation at Premier League level. However, there is no doubting that he is a shrewd businessman and he would offer a degree of stability. It looks unlikely now though but there will be a hope that someone will come in and save the club before it’s too late.