Madejski: TSI deal signals the end of an era at Reading FCBy Jonny Fordham
May 30, 2012
Sir John Madejski's Royals reign came to an end yesterday as he made way for a Russian revolution.
Millionaire Anton Zingarevich completed his Thames Sports Investment-led buyout, paying £25million for a 51-per-cent stake in the club, after the Premier League and Football League rubber stamped the deal – almost two months after the original deadline.
Tycoon Sir John had been in full control of the club for nearly 22 years, but his legacy will last for decades having saved the club from extinction.
The announcement of the takeover comes exactly 17 years after Royals were beaten 4-3 by Bolton Wanderers in the Division One play-off final at Wembley.
“It is the end of one era, but the start of another,” said the 71-year-old entrepreneur, who makes way for 30-year-old Zingarevich, son of a billionaire paper tycoon.
“It’s exciting times. Now we can really start getting on with things – it’s great.
“The club will be run in the same way and it’s business as usual.
“It feels great getting this done having been here for 22 years and coming from Elm Park.
“However, it’s not about me, it’s about the club and all the people who work here and support Reading.
“I’m delighted to be staying on as chairman and I’ll be doing that until at least 2014.”
Sir John, current director Ian Wood-Smith and chief executive Nigel Howe will now be joined on the board by financier Chris Samuelson and Andrew Obolensky – another financial expert – as well as former Bearwood College pupil Zingarevich.
Loyal Royals had begun to wonder if the takeover would ever materialise after both the club and the Premier League refused to comment on the deal when asked by the Reading Post earlier this month.
However, Sir John always knew that they would complete the transaction in the end.
He added: “There were never any doubts, things just take time.
“Quite frankly I think that is a good thing these days as you have seen what has happened elsewhere in football.”