Reading in talks with Wycombe about sale of training ground

Reading moved into Bearwood Park in 2019

Reading moved into Bearwood Park in 2019

READING have confirmed they are in exclusive talks with Wycombe Wanderers about the sale of their £50m Bearwood Park training ground.

The Royals moved into the facility in 2019 and it is home to their first team, Academy and women’s sides. It is set over almost 120 acres and has three full-sized first-team pitches (with the same dimensions as the pitch at the Madejski Stadium), a floodlit artificial 3G pitch, goalkeeping practice area, first-team building and Academy facility.

When the club were promoted to Category One Academy status last July, their infrastructure and facilities were a major factor. However, the crisis-hit club now say they need to sell the site to “support short-term funding.”

Reading have already been deducted six points this season for late payment of wages. There are concerns they will not be able to pay March’s wages and HMRC commitments, with a £1m shortfall to overcome. Failure to do so would almost certainly result in a further points deduction from the Football League.

The Athletic broke the story of the proposed sale overnight and TGG can reveal that neither Director of Football Mark Bowen nor Head Coach Ruben Selles were aware of the news until they read about it this morning.

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Last weekend, the owner of Reading, Dai Yongge, issued a public statement in which he announced that Bearwood Park was available for sale. Wycombe have been working for several years to either substantially upgrade their training facility at Marlow Road or move somewhere that would allow for the necessary expansion and enhancements.

The club - who beat Reading 2-1 in League One last weekend - have been searching for their own training facility since being priced out of a deal to buy the Marlow Road site they lease from a three-man consortium. They have trained on local 4G pitches when the facility in Marlow has been flooded.

In a statement, Reading said: “Mr Dai can confirm he is in talks with Wycombe Wanderers Football Club Limited regarding the sale of Bearwood Park.”

Chief Executive Dayong Pang added: ”Whilst an agreement is not yet finalised, both parties will move forward with the process exclusively. The proposed transaction will directly support the short-term funding of the club until a full sale can be concluded. Further updates, including possible options for an alternative training facility, will be communicated when appropriate.”

In a separate statement, Wycombe said: “The parties are moving forward on an exclusive basis with the expectation of completion. In the interim, Wycombe hope that if a transaction completes it will provide Reading with necessary financial support to ensure that they are able to meet their ongoing financial obligations.

“Further updates will be communicated when available.”

For the 15 years prior to the opening of Bearwood, Reading had trained at Hogwood Park in the village of Finchampstead, but the site was deemed unsuitable for significant development and expansion.

Their new training ground, which is five miles from the Madjeski, is three times bigger than Hogwood. At the time of its opening, Yongge said: "Bearwood Park will help bring Reading Football Club even closer together.

"I believe this will be one of the very best training grounds in the country and I am delighted to open the gates to the first team for the first time this morning.”

Despite all the turmoil off the field, and the points deductions, Reading have climbed out of the League One relegation zone. Their Head Coach, Selles, was our guest on Episode #60 of the TGG Podcast (which you can watch below).

He said: "From the very beginning, it has been really difficult for us. We started with nine professional players in pre-season. Two of them were injured and two were goalkeepers. But from that difficult situation we promoted some of the young lads from the Under-21s, kept them working with us in pre-season and also during the season.

"As a product of that, I think we have an established team right now: very young, energetic, that know how to win matches in any category and that's the best part - to see all those boys and the team growing in terms of competitiveness and spirit.

"Unfortunately, I cannot control the things around (the team). It’s been a lot of surprises for us, in terms of transferring players or the points deduction. Unfortunately - or fortunately - I think we've learnt how to go with those things and learn how to manage things, almost hour by hour, day by day.

"The instability around us is big. The group of players and the technical staff are doing their best to keep the team in the league, to win football matches and to create an environment where we can go almost through every situation."

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