McDermott key to Zingarevich plans

Published: 22 Nov 2012 18:000 comments

ANTON Zingarevich reaffirmed his long-term commitment to Reading FC this week by highlighting his ambitious plans once again.

Backing: Reading FC owner Anton Zingarevich, pictured here next to wife Katsia, left, and chairman Sir John Madejski, right, says he is fully behind manager Brian McDermott.
Pic: Chris Forsey.

In the week when Zingarevich was forced to publicly back manager Brian McDermott before Saturday's 2-1 win over Everton, the Russian also spelt out his clear vision for the future.

It includes expanding the Madejski Stadium's capacity to around 38,000 and building a state-of-the-art training ground near Aldermaston, moves Zingarevich sees as necessary to bring Royals in line with rival top-flight clubs.

The possibility of selling off the naming rights to the Mad Stad could also be on the cards.

The 30-year-old Russian explained: "Every club wants to be in the Premier League and of course we have a vision here. But I've said it a number of times. The stadium is full every game so we need to expand it at some point. Maybe not tomorrow but over a period of five years.

"We also need to do some work on the internal infrastructure and training ground. They are basic things we need to improve on.

"Lately, other clubs are always improving their stadium and training ground and they are the basic things we need to concentrate on."

While Zingarevich's mission is to make Reading an established Premier League club, he has been distracted by the events of the past week in which rumours surfaced suggesting manager Brian McDermott would be replaced with PSV Eindhoven coach Dick Advocaat.

Dutchman Advocaat, 65, had a three-year spell at Zenit St Petersburg - the hometown club of Zingarevich - and the pair are believed to be friends.

However, Zingarevich is eager to set the record straight and is ready to back McDermott with funds to spend in the January transfer market.

"Speculation is the same in any league when results aren't going your way and especially in England where there is so much attention," he stressed. "I can't comment on other managers but I know Brian is confident and he's just a little irritated by the press and the questions he has to answer because he keeps having to say the same things again and again.

"It's the same for me, everything is fine and we just want to concentrate on the next game, we're not thinking of any big picture.

"I understand all the speculation but, for us, it is very simple. I have total faith in the manager. He signed a new contract in March, we are working hard together and we have a great relationship."

Royals have been heavily linked with a move from Arsenal's out-of-favour winger Andrey Arshavin. Arshavin is a Russian team-mate of Reading striker Pavel Pogrebnyak and McDermott could be keen for them to link up at Madejski Stadium. Burnley hotshot and ex-Reading trainee Charlie Austin is another player on Royals' radar.

And it is clear Zingarevich is poised to dip into his pockets to bolster the squad, as he did 12 months ago with the marquee signing of Jason Roberts from Blackburn Rovers.

Roberts dropped down a division to sign for Royals, and duly inspired the team in a late surge that saw them win promotion and the Championship title.

"We showed last season that when we needed to strengthen we did," stated Zingarevich, who was in the process of his takeover at the time. "But we will see, we haven't really discussed it yet, but we will sit down and see what the manager wants to do in the winter.

"I regularly speak to Brian. It's very easy for me because Brian has good judgement skills when it comes to players. But right now we are concentrating on games rather than discussing players. It's almost two months ahead so it's too early to talk about that anyway.

"Saying that, of course there will be funds available, but we have to be effective. There are teams who spend money and others who do it in an effective manner and that is the key. We showed that last January. We didn't bring in players for the sake of it. We knew what we needed to do for the team and that's what we did."

However, Zingarevich rubbished rumours stating he is ready to sign 10 new players in January and denied a deal has been done with Arshavin, 31.

"That was a figure of speech," he stressed. "All I was saying is there will be players available in the winter and we will decide what to do. But I never actually said we will be bringing 10 players in. We would never actually do that, it would be impossible."

And regarding the Arshavin links he added: "What I said was mistranslated. I was asked a question in Russian about Arshavin and what I thought of him as a player.

"I said he was a good player. Then I was asked whether we would be interested in him. I said if he was available, like 10 or 15 other players, we could sit down and have a discussion. But I never said I was interested in signing him.

"In terms of signing players, it's a collective decision but the manager has the last word."

Speculation about Advocaat taking over the Reading hotseat surfaced in the Dutch media last week, prompting Zingarevich to set the record straight.

"I don't know where that [rumour] came from," he declared. "Brian is the man for the job and I have total faith in him.

"Brian knows that everything is fine. We work as a team and we will continue to do that. He is the right man for the job and I am sure he will become a very good manager in the Premier League.

"He has a long-term contract so I don't see any problem. Brian will be here in January. I think he had a little bit of an unfortunate start to the season but I'm sure it will pick up and everything will be fine."

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