Stuart Beavon: Reading FC almost ready for Premier LeagueBy Jonny Fordham
June 28, 2012
Not many former Reading stars are better placed to quiz about the club's fortunes than Stuart Beavon.
As the fifth highest appearance maker for Royals, the midfielder boasts 481 league and cup appearances during a nine-year spell at Elm Park from 1980 to 1989.
Beavon scored in the 1988 Simod Cup final as Reading defeated Luton Town 4-1 in their only ever win at Wembley, his was an era where footballers played for the love of the game, not for fame and fortune.
"The car park is a bit different to the cars that the players drive from my day," said the 53-year-old.
"I never feel jealous of them, I would love to have played in this era, back then it was different.
"You played football because you wanted to play, it wasn't about the money, now you have to get what you can. The mentality has changed and there are a lot of foreign players who are just happy to sit on the touchline.
"Most English players want to play, but the ones from abroad are happy to come and pick up £200,000/week."
The egos and attitudes of some of the players Beavon eludes to brings to light the ugly side of the modern game.
Reading's promotion will see their own playing squad reap the financial benefits that Premier League football brings, but Beavon believes that grounded manager Brian McDermott won't let his players get caught up in the stereotypical top-flight lifestyle.
"Brian has kept Reading as the family club that it always has been. The manager hasn't signed big-name players who have upset the place. He's found players that are exactly the right mix.
"I'm not surprised with how well Reading did last season because Brian is a very good manager.
"He's always got a good side together and has the full respect of the players - that's half the battle sometimes.
"If you have that understanding the players will always go out and play for you and you can tell that the Reading team loves playing for him. Even the ones that aren't playing are happy and that's all down to the manager.
"I played against him when he was in the Arsenal youth team and I was at Tottenham, Brian was a good player and he's done really well in his short managerial career at Reading."
Royals have confirmed just one signing so far this summer, with winger Garath McCleary joining on a free transfer from Nottingham Forest.
Russia striker and fellow free agent Pavel Pogrebnyak, who scored six times during a short-term deal at Fulham last season, is also set to sign a four-year deal subject to a work permit.
And Beavon believes that whilst it is important to bring in new additions, wholesale changes are not what is needed at Madejski Stadium.
"They do need to spend some money this summer, but it's not about making full-scale changes. What they probably need is three or four players in there, proven Premier League players, to help the others along.
"A proven striker is essential, if you're scoring goals then you have a chance of staying up. The spine of the side needs to be strong and with that you can fit players in and around that."