Connect with us


Reading fans unconvinced by prospective owner William Storey after talkSPORT interview

Reading fans have been left unconvinced by prospective Reading owner William Storey after his talkSPORT interview on Friday morning.

There were reports that the club were about to be sold to a British businessman and Rich Energy founder William Storey for £50million from Chinese owner Dai Yongge, according to an article, that he would clear the debts and invest in the playing squad when the transfer embargo would be lifted.

However, the Royals have clarified that there is “currently no agreement in place with any party”, and that “no single individual or entity has exclusivity in this process”.

READ MORE: Concerns at ‘takeover’ for Reading by man with failed bids for Sunderland and Coventry

Matterface: What’s going on at Reading? Yesterday, there were reports that the club were about to be sold to a British businessman, William Story for £50 million. According to the article yesterday in one of the papers, story agreed to clear the club’s debts and £50 million pledged to invest in the playing squad when a transfer embargo is lifted. Reading though sent out a statement last night in which they clarified that there is currently no agreement in place with any party in that no single individual or entity has exclusivity in this process. So let’s find out what is happening by speaking to the man who’s been with the potential purchase of the club. William Storey joins us live on the show. Now thank you very much for talking to us and welcome to the programme talking to us and welcome to the programme

Storey: Thanks for having me.

Matterface: Just tell us what your interest me um, just tell us what your interest is in reading. Well, uh, it’s an interesting one because as you, as you know and, uh, there’s been a bit of commentary about is obviously very stringent EFL regulate very stringent and they’ve been sharpened up in the last few months. So you’ll probably be aware that, uh, there are quite, uh, a strict rules on what can be announced regarding takeovers or potential takeovers, and what can’t be discussed. So I mean in terms of Reading, I’m happy to talk about the club and then my views on what you know the future could hold. I’m very happy to talk about Sunderland, Coventry, any, any other football matches, but obviously specifics on a bid, I can’t discuss, because obviously there are strict rules around the EFL, but I’m very…

Crook: Have you been in touch with the EFL to clarify what those rules are though?

Storey: Well, yes, I have because I went through the process for Sunderland and Coventry. It’s probably worth noting that the structure put forward for both of those deals was indicatively approved by the EFL. So obviously, you know it in terms of putting to get their deal for any club, EFL approval is a vital part of the process. So clearly you don’t wanna print it, as that, but, uh, very well aware of what they are, and, uh, you know clearly uh, it’s very important, very prospective owners to be available to those.

Crook: We, we understand you haven’t actually been in contact with the EFL when it comes to reading. And, and actually you spoke a lot there without saying much that there, there’s no restriction on you coming on national radio and telling us if you’ve made a bid for reading and if the reports that we believe are false, that you’ve had that bid accepted, it’s not breaking any regulations. Have you made a bid? Has it been accepted? Have you spoken to the EFL?

Storey: Well, I don’t know who your source is at the EFL, but, uh, I, I think they should, uh, check their facts, uh, any prospective owner. And I think we’re, we’re talking about, uh, a prospective deal here, that’s the point of the call. Uh, would, of course, involved extensive EFL conversations. Clearly, a bid for Reading would include the same. And clearly we wouldn’t be making a bit worthy EFL process not in hand. So I think that’s probably the closest I can say regarding my specific perspective bid where it to be there. Uh, but I’m very happy to talk about Redding and what as a perspective owner I could bring into football which is expensive.

Crook: What is it could you bring?

Storey: Uh, well, where do you start? I mean, new players, new sponsors, commercial revenues, um, new contact, innovation. I mean, there’s a, there’s a huge number of things. If you look at, I am a big, big football fan, I have been for many years. I’m a failed player because I got as far as a reserve game for QPR. But if you look at, for example, the best people I would consider the best, uh, you know chairman and, uh, football club owners in the league, people like David Sullivan and Tony Bloom, they’ve done a phenomenal job in terms of player recruitment, running the club, ensuring his top management all levels, uh, and ensure those clubs are run fiscally prudently, uh, in a way that’s not over leveraged. Um, and that brings the fans with them. You know, so I think that’s very, very important if you look at previous owners of, of various clubs. I mean, it was people like Mark Goldberg bought Crystal Palace, he was a fanatical fan, um, but he got absolutely rinsed by agents. You look at Tony Fernandez bought QPR, (…0.5s)same thing, put money in, was absolutely rinsed by agents, just didn’t have a clue. Everton recently spent thinking of something like 400 million and yet got no results on the pitch as a result of it. And if you look at a red thing, for example, as a club, you know, you’ve had an agent there, Kia Joorabchian, who’s been involved at QPR, involved at Everton, he’s done extremely well. Evans, you know, Paul Evans was there last year, not sure he did a great job. Um, you know, ultimately recruitment’s a big thing, but I think it’s an ethos throughout the club and you gotta have owners and or advisors to actually understand the game that are there for the right reasons and also hopefully are actually fans of the club. You know, I mean if you look at, um, you know, big clubs who actually bring in club legends who actually have people as supporters, I think that makes a huge difference. And even Newcastle now, you know, doing very very well, one of the key things that I think has kept the fans very much on side, apart from obviously money, has been local kids. You know, it’s, there’s a core of Geordie players in the team. So, you know, at the end of the day, football is full of all sorts of different characters, but if, you know, own a club, I think you have to understand the area, you have to understand the fans, and primarily understand football. And Reading is a number, is is among a number of clubs that been badly run. I don’t think that’s unfair to say no. John Madejski was obviously a very prudent manager, uh, sorry, chairman, uh, Mr Reading. He put all sorts of money in, into the stadium, into the local region. I think he lost a lot of money with the Lehman Brothers thing in Reading town centre. And it’s a shame for Reading fans that he left. But, uh, subsequently, it’s just been a bit of a shambles. And clearly from my perspective, work the right to go into bedding. Uh, things will be transformed very, very quickly.

Matterface: Let me ask you this question because there’s a little bit of concern. And yesterday we had Kieran Maguire, who I know that you’ve engaged with on social media over the course of the last few months, suggesting that some of the previous companies that you’ve been involved with have been liquidated with million hundred pounds worth of debt. So when you talk about financial prudence, can you understand why there are some who are a little bit concerned?

Storey: Well, I think there’s our phrase in it, those that can’t do and those that can’t talk about it. I mean, he’s a financial journalist who’s ever run a business. So I mean I would say with respect that the bloke’s absolutely clueless.

Matterface: So did that happen or not?

Storey: Well, I’ve been involved in multiple companies, many of which have been huge successes. Uh you know, part of success is failure. There have been some companies that have not done so well and he is of course highlighted those. But the end of the day, don’t start from nothing and build very successful businesses without a few bloody noses. Now if he wants to do a fair object analysis, then perhaps he wants to talk about the companies that I’ve created that about evaluations of, of up to nine figures. So he, he seems to strangely permitted those. So at the end of the day, I said to Kieran Maguire very happy to have a discussion with him. He, he proposed to be an expert. Well, experts That’s in the last few years have been largely brighted as clueless. Um, and I think Kieran Maguire is following that trend.

Crook: Unfortunately, I think you spot on William when you say to those who can’t talk about it. What happened with your sponsorship deal in Formula 1? Why did that get terminated early?

Storey: Great question. Um, I agree, yeah, Rich Energy, uh, is a random product I created. We felt it was better than market leader, better than Red Bull. Red Bull have taken me to court on multiple occasions. They were desperate for me to not get into Formula 1, when we did, they were desperate. So, you know, the end of the day, you know, I take it as a compliment that the market leader has come after me a number of times. And we are working on a return to Formula 1, and I think you’ll find in due course that the rich energy will be a very, very competitive product in the marketplace.

Crook: So all your, all your contraction obligations were paid, were paid. There were no issues in that respect.

Storey: If you go if you go into the facts of this, um, it’s interesting. I have 8 lawsuits in this area, I’ve won 7. I’m on the front foot in the eighth. If you wanna actually have a look at Haas, they themselves came out with a statement saying it was an amicable party of the ways. But I think Haas are desperate not to go against me in law because they will actually owe me a lot of money for defamation. So, you know, again look at the fact that the reality is if you were a small company and, uh, you know potentially even a little bit unorthodox, people ask questions, but rather than say, um, innovation, um, you know people are saying things that aren’t there.

Martin Keown: William, Martin here, I’ll previously played as a player at Reading. How can you kind of alleviate the fears of…

Storey: To answer your question. Yes, we did pay hands for every single race that we did. And you want to ask them that question because a lot of mud has been thrown, but it’s not legitimate. And I have a very, very valid case for defamation against them. So very proud of what we did in Formula 1. And potentially people need to look at that again and see a very successful small beverage business that had the temerity to take on Red Bull and of course, you know, got a lot of mud thrown at us.

Martin Keown: Will, you reading from a script there, I just wanted to ask you a question. As a former player from play for Reading Football Club. Lovely football club, great people there. Can you reassure the fans what’s the driver for this? Are you an entrepreneurial are you an entrepreneurial business person do you love the game? Is it about ego? I’m hearing a lot of ego listening to you talk and I’m wondering, are you really, and are your pockets big enough? Have you got the money to inject into this football cup or you just gonna love.

Storey: Listen, I love football. It’s about football. I do, of course, have a consumer brand which I want to promote. And you know, clearly I would be looking at the Rich Energy Arena. Rich Energy is the shirt’s sponsor, naturally, but the reality is what I’d like to do is build things. You know, I’ve not started with anything. I’ve created everything for nothing. I want to build something successful. I think football is a phenomenal game. If you look at clubs that are available, Reading has a huge amount going for it as a fantastic fan base that are motivated and passionate. Hence the concern the last couple of days, which I fully understand. And I think it’s really important that somebody that I can speak to them or any perspective owner can speak to the fans and set out their vision for the club. Um, I think it has superb stadium, um, superb infrastructure, category 1 academy. Um, it’s got brilliant people involved in the club, including Ruben Selles, who I think is a superb young manager who retention of him would be a huge priority for any prospective new owner. And I think as a platform, it has all the potential to, to do every bit as well as the likes of Brentford, which it, you know, it might be a smaller club punching above their weight. So I think what you need to do is come in, you need to invest, you need to get the right recruitment in place, you need to ensure that you didn’t have locust agents all around the place and leeching on the club up. And you need to ensure, you know, real collaboration with the supporters groups to build a vision for Reading. Now a lot of people, proper football fans would say wear a Reading as a club that probably that natural place would be somewhere in the middle or to the top of the Championship. Clearly what you would want to do is try and create momentum to try and get into the Premier League. That would clearly be the holy grail. But through financial prudence, running it properly, um, you know, and not you’d obviously want a lot of supporters of the club in senior positions that would go the extra mile for the team and the club.

Matterface: You talk about investment, you talk about recruitment, you talk about ambition. There where’s the money coming from? Is it your money or you borrowing it? What I would suggest is it’s a combination.

Storey: I mean, it’s some, some of my money were, you know, for any prospective football bid, where’s the money coming from? Partially myself, partially from investors, um, partially from commercial partners. But, you know, any bid that I would put together would be fully funded, robust and involve fiscal prudence moving forward. But the reality is if you were to look at Reading, for example, my understanding is their losses are of the order of 17 million a year. You need to very, very and quickly look at where those were. You need to plug the gaps to working capital and you need to ensure new revenue streams, um, and obviously, you know run, run efficiently. But I think the key thing would be to start turning things around on the pitch because momentum on the pitch leads to, you know increase the attendances, you know and excitement around the club and then the loss of ambition. And I think it’s also worth mentioning if you are talking about Reading that Dai Yongge, who has put in a huge amount of money into the club. I think his heart was in the right place or has been in the right place. And I think potentially advisors around him, you know agents, um, are probably a bigger part of the problem.

Matterface: Okay, um you, you you talked about Red Bull and then coming after you and being sort of almost the disruptor in a particular market, and not necessarily, uh, being welcomed in that. We’ve mentioned some other accusations or concerns about you that have been floating in the last 48 hours or so. Do you think you’ve been misrepresented?

Storey: In what context do you think?

Matterface: Do you think that the skeptic, the skepticism about this bid is, is misplaced?

Storey: I mean, I think it’s totally uninformed. Um, you know and as I said, ultimately the facts always come out. Um, listen, you know, at the end of the day, it’s, it’s, it’s easy for journalists or detractors have a pop at somebody. Most of my detractors, uh, have never met me, um, you know and I’m not sure I wanna meet them. But ultimately, you know, absolutely I’m very, very proud of what we pulled together. I was very disappointed to miss out on Coventry, um, because we had something really, really good lined up, uh, for them. And hopefully, um, you know we will get a football club very soon, and we can show what we do, um, we can do. So it’s about results, isn’t it?

Crook: This, this 50 million pound offer that, that we read about that you’ve not confirmed or denied. What would you actually be buying? Because our understanding is that Dai Yongge, who mentioned there is already moved the training ground and the stadium so that it’s owned by separate companies. Are you buying the debt? Are you buying this, the football club? Are you buying the stadium? Are you buying the training ground? Cause 50 million pound for League One club seems excessive, would be a record.

Storey: Well, it’s a very leading question, but I’ll try and answer it as best I can. I mean the bottom line is, were one to be considering buying Reading, obviously you would look at the structure, all those companies and it would be imperative to have the stadium and the infrastructure included. So it may well be hypothetically that you’d be buying several businesses involved in one deal. Uh, because, you know, to build a foundation for success you would need, um, a stadium and training ground and necessary infrastructure. And the reality is this is in Berkshire, you know, um, it’s not in, you know, Sunderland. You know the price of land is, is very, very different. So obviously, you know, you gotta take that into…

Crook: Sunderland. There are far bigger club than Redding though with the greatest respect in the world.

Storey: Well, they are, um, they are they are a intensive fan base. I mean, they’re one of the biggest in the country and I think among the best fans in the country. But, you know, obviously that’s a very different region. Reading has said it is a club that most people would say has huge potential and has the necessary infrastructure to offer that. I think the, um, the ceiling for Reading is very, very high. And I think under the right leadership, they could definitely, definitely get back into the Premier League and that, yeah, realistically that’s gonna take potentially three or four years. I’m not, yeah, I’m not naive on that but it would require a lot of commitment. It’s a long term commitment. And I think, uh, a point that I would make is it’s a football project. It needs people really passionate about the game, who prepared to get involved, who are prepared to put their hands in their pockets and, and really invest for the long term. And that’s why the club wouldn’t appeal to the usual sort of speculators and spins that hang around football clubs, um, you know, who usually interested in, in property elements. This is a football project that requires long term commitment. I think if the right person gets hold of the club, the potential is enormous.

Matterface: Okay, well, listen, you said there is quite a lot of potential and you’ve got a good vision for the club. Let’s hope for Reading safe that it all works out.

Tim Dellor, BBC Radio Berkshire Sports Editor, said via BBC Sport: “Yongge’s steadfast refusal to communicate with anyone, including his own staff at Reading, his failure to pay bills at the end of each month, and his disregard for the EFL’s profitability and sustainability rules during his six-year tenure has run Reading to the brink.

“Sources at the top of the club tell me Storey’s bid will fail.

“The first issue for Storey and anyone else trying to buy Reading (and I am told there are several more attractive interested parties from the US), is reaching an agreement over the true value of the club with Yongge.

“He has pumped in hundreds of millions of pounds, so will surely be wanting to minimise his losses. No right thinking business operator will want to pay even tens of millions, let alone hundreds of millions, for the privilege of owning a club drowning in debt.

“The other issue is the EFL’s owners’ and directors’ test. Storey has already seen bids for Sunderland and Coventry flounder. His sponsorship of F1 team Haas was short-lived.

“A “corporate restructuring process” at Rich Energy was blamed for the early termination of that contract – if Yongge is planning to sell to Storey, for a reported £50m, fans may be forgiven for thinking it is a case of out the frying pan and into the fire.

“It will be a significant moment for the EFL’s scrutiny of potential new club owners – they allowed Yongge to take over the Royals six years ago after the Premier League had thwarted his attempts to buy Hull City.

“Storey was invited to the training ground by Yongge a few months ago, and pictures on social media, originally published by the British businessman, show this visit definitely took place. Storey has since posted comments on social media about Reading FC. He has made no secret of his interest.

“But could administrators being placed in charge of club affairs, and a 12-point deduction probably leading to League Two football, be preferable for staff and fans of the club?

“Understandably, going into administration is much feared by fans at all clubs, but at least it would mark the lowest point in the downward spiral.

“Accountants controlling things, rather than Yongge, would at least calm the situation.

“Based on what happened at clubs like Derby, Portsmouth, Southampton and Huddersfield over the last 15 years, it may be the start of happier times.

“Accountants would have a better grasp of the club’s true value, and could strip out the excess spending. Administration immediately reduces the scale of some of the debts, making it a more attractive proposition to potential buyers.

“Throughout this sorry saga at Reading, the not knowing has been a big part of the unrest. Fans have been thrashing around in the dark, searching for answers that have never come.

“Ruben Selles, the manager, is left to field questions on the business and finances, rather than tactical formations and player fitness. Whoever comes in, be it administrators or a new owner, they must communicate better, play by the rules, pay the bills and bring financial stability.”

As mentioned, Reading fans were unconvinced by prospective owner William Storey after his talkSPORT interview…

@pott95: He’s made himself look like a right idiot. I’ve listened to this so far and taken that he’s not agreed any deal and would be surprised if he’s even made a bid. What a strange bloke. #readingfc

@dsaund6: Listening to this waffle right now hahaha #readingfc

@TALKOFTHE72: 2 minutes in and this ‘prospective’ owner of Reading, William Storey, on talksport is an absolute shambles. Talking a lot without saying anything. #ReadingFC

@RyanWatkins20: Storey is being put to the sword here 😂 politician style sideways moves are not being accepted. Fairplay to Talksport #readingfc

@alastair_yapp: William Storey is such a fraud – this interview tells you everything you need to know #readingfc

@jonathan_lara: William Storey being called out for complete BS by @talkSPORT after only 45 seconds of an interview… #Readingfc

@rich92_H: Storey 🤥! Guy needs to be kept away from football! #readingfc #TalkSport #PUSB

@EthanLewendon: Ok so the only thing that Storey has said so far that I like is that Kia and Ince are…not great to put things politely. The rest is drivel. Going on the radio to say he can’t talk about things? #ReadingFC

@Jones1871: He’s claiming Red Bull are afraid of Rich Energy. Think that sums up this interview. Total waffle. #readingfc

@RFC_Smurf93: Mr William Storey. No thank you 👋🏻 #readingfc

@adamthewhalley: William Storey on @talkSPORT has created businesses that are worth up to 9 figures? How many decimal places are we talking here… #readingfc

@frustratedroyal: Listening to William Storey on @talkSPORT and I don’t believe a single word of what comes out of this guys mouth, some of it is unbelievable! God I hope that the @EFL are listening too! #readingfc

@SeanFuery: Potential owner on Talk sport. Making promises about buying the club. Never bodes well. #readingfc

@Reading106: Storey a brilliant advocate for the old saying that its better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt. What an absolute clown. Stay away from our club. #Readingfc

@chrishew08: William Storey sounds lovely……🙈 #readingfc

@thesimpsonRFC: Storey can’t even confirm where he is money from, says it’s a “combination of things.” In other words, I can’t confirm where it’s coming from because I don’t have any 🙃 #readingfc

@ryandgl: Storey has made some good points regarding young talent, keeping important staff (manager) and agents fleecing owners. Ultimately though aside from those points he has just spent all this time chatting shit and dodging questions… Basically, he’s a fraud who’s done enough research to talk the talk but everyone else knows he can’t walk the walk and doesn’t have the cash. #readingfc

@Handbags82: I mean, yeah they’re sensible points but they’re absolutely nothing of material benefit when trying to work out what the situation is with his “bid”. All stuff fans want to hear, but no detail whatsoever behind anything.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

More in Championship