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TitleReading Hotels - Cheap Accommodation Deals in ReadingREADING HOTELS - IF you need a hotel room in Reading, the UK - or anywhere in the world - our discount booking service is the answer. Click here for Reading Guide's own link to LateRooms.com®. Availability and prices are updated daily, the prices per room not per person, and there's no booking fee. IF YOU make future bookings, please do so from this link.RAIN OR SHINE? COMPREHENSIVE WEATHER FORECAST FOR THE READING AREA (Met Office)
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------------------------------------- THE NEW SEASON STARTS AT HOME TO PRESTON
THE Royals start their 2016/17 Championship season at home to Preston North End on Saturday 6 August. At first glance it seems not too taxing - except that Preston finished last season as the form team in the division, and were 2-1 winners in the last game at the Mad Stad. That was one of the far too many occasions where Reading conceded a crucial goal in added time, and a draw would probably have been a fairer result - but Simon Grayson’s team did more than enough to show that if they are even stronger this time then they will be a real handful for Jaap Stam’s first competitive game. The first away game will be the following Saturday at Wolves, where Royals suffered one of many farcical defeats last time around. They conceded a goal to ex-Reading man James Henry just before half-time and despite 80percent possession in the second half couldn’t find an equaliser. Talking of “farcical”, next up, on Wednesday 17th is the long trek to Newcastle. That’s a classic case of “computer says no” because someone at the Football League should have put in a bit of human input and decided that was a ridiculous punishment of Reading supporters who might have enjoyed that journey on a Saturday, but not midweek.
One of the two “westward” M4 derbies, at Cardiff comes up early on at 27 August, while the first date with Bristol City is at home on 26 November. The first “eastwards” M4 local dates are at Brentford on 27 September, and Fulham away on 3 December. The Boxing Day game is home to Norwich, and New Year’s Eve home to Fulham. The other New Year game, on 2 January, is at Bristol City. Newcastle come to town on Tuesday 7 March - perhaps karma for their fans after Reading’s midweek trip there. The eagerly-awaited games with Aston Villa are at home on Tuesday 18 October and away on 15 April. The season ends with what could be a tricky trip to promoted Burton on Sunday 7 May. This is the FULL SEASON LIST from the club website. In the first round of the Football League Cup, Royals have been drawn at home to Plymouth.
ROYALS MOURN DEATH OF ACADEMY BOSS EAMONN
READING Football Club have announced that their highly-respected and highly-successful Academy manager Eamonn Dolan has died aged just 48. The former West Ham, Birmingham and Exeter City player and manager, had been battling cancer for the past year. News of his death immediately brought tributes from throughout the football world, and the leading Royals’ fan group on Facebook is to make an official request for the North Stand at the Madejski Stadium to take Eamonn’s name. Club statement. Dolan joined the Royals in 2004 and led the Academy through a golden era, which saw 32 junior players come through the ranks to make their first team debuts with Reading. He was also a valuable first team assistant to all of the managers throughout his time at the club, and on one memorable occasion was caretaker-manager for the Royals in a Premier League match away to Manchester United. Royals players past and present also paid their tributes.
JAAP STAM and his Orange army came breezing into the Mad Stad on Monday and immediately instilled a sense of anticipation amongst Reading FC fans badly disillusioned after the past three seasons. Former Manchester United, Lazio and Holland hard-man Stam, 43, was officially installed as manager - three weeks after everyone knew he would be - and brought with him two of his fellow junior coaches at Ajax, Andries Ulderink and Said Bakkita, left and right respectively in the picture. Club statement.
The group has undoubtedly been brought in by Brian Tevreden, another junior coach at Ajax who joined the Royals as head of international football development/technical director in February. Since then he has emerged as a serious front-line player at Reading, either in, or about to be in, the director of football role held for the previous 20 years by Nick Hammond.
Tevreden and Stam were together on the coaching staff of Dutch giants Ajax for the past two years, Stam as assistant coach with the reserve team, Tevreden within the reserve and junior structure, as were Andries Ulderink and Said Bakkati. At face value, the appointment of Stam, is a gamble, because he has no senior management experience, no first-hand knowledge of the Championship, and probably limited knowledge of current English League players. However, he is highly-respected within the game, and still revered by Manchester United fans as one of their finest-ever players. Now he has to prove himself as a boss. Fans have mixed feelings about the appointment, but most on social media are happy to give him a chance, and happy that what was appearing to be a dangerously-lengthening manager-less gap, has now closed. He certainly spoke impressively, with quiet enthusiasm about his hopes for what he and his team can achieve at Reading.
There was a stir at the press conference where Stam’s appointment was officially announced, with former Royals owner, now joint chairman, Sir John Madejski, saying in so many words that he did not agree with the decision to sack Brian McDermott. He wished Stam the best of luck, but his comments are likely to have upset the club’s Thai owners, one of whom was sat two seats away. Later chief executive Nigel Howe, one of Madejski’s faithful group of lieutenants, broke ranks with his old pal, and expressed disappointment at Madejski’s comments. He also confirmed that SJM plays very little role in the running of the club these days - self-evident from the fact that he had no power to prevent McDermott being sacked after just six months.
In other Royals news, the club has announced that the proposed pre-season tour of Slovenia has been cancelled and that five key pre-season friendlies will be held. The schedule starts away to junior partner club Boreham Wood on Saturday 9 July. That’s followed by a trip to Lincoln City on Saturday 16 July, then away to Swindon on Tuesday 19 July. On Saturday 23 July the Royals will be away to newly-promoted Wimbledon. The final warm-up game, the supposed “prestige” date, is against Bournemouth at the Mad Stad on Friday 29 July. Slightly embarrassing that, considering how far apart the clubs were in status in the opposite direction just a few years ago.
Going back to the Dutch theme, the club’s first signing of the summer has been unveiled as Danzell Gravenberch a defender from FC Dordrecht, who had been training with the Royals for several weeks. The club have also been linked with Legia Warsaw defender Bartosz Bereszynski, with some Polish media reporting that the signing is complete. On the outward side - maybe we should call it Rexit - Ollie Norwood is said to be interesting Hull City, while Bournemouth are apparently set to pounce for Jake Cooper. Eddie Howe’s many visits to the Mad Stad last season were thought to be with a view to taking Michael Hector on loan from Chelsea, but apparently he sees more potential in the promising, but still very raw, Cooper. Will be interesting to see which side the youngster is on when Royals face the Cherries in the last pre-season match - and might even be interesting to see if Howe also takes either of them to Southampton, now that Ronald Koeman has gone to Everton. Also gone from the Mad Stad, as well as last season’s six loan players, are Simon Cox, Anton Ferdinand and Wales hero Hal Robson-Kanu.