#FM17 | The Keysi Way | Reading FC | part IV | Second season

Hello everyone! This is the summary of my second season with Reading FC in Football Manager 2017. After the Play-off collapse at the end of the first season we continued in my way with this great club.

Thanks to overachieving performances and results in the first season and reaching the Play-off Final I signed a two-year contract exension so I’m able to continue as a manager of Reading.

As you were able to read in previous posts one of my goal was to cut wages and I continued in it during the second season but it started to be much harder as many young players want more money despite they played about 10 matches during the season. Read about this topic below.

Transfers 2017/2018

Let’s talk about outgoing trasnfer first. We had to sell some players to secure budget for another season as I don’t want to be in red numbers. Stephen Quinn, Deniss Rakels, Danny Williams, Anssi Jaakkola, Chris Gunter, Zak Jules, Paolo Hurtado, Yakou Meité, Danzell Gravenberch and Liam Moore. And Yann Kermogant retired.

All these players left the club during this season for the financial reasons. We earned about 15M from these transfers but more importantly we were about 90K p/w under our wage budget.

That’s very important to me.

And many players left the club for loan spell. I always try to secure 100% wage is paid by the club where my players went but it’s not possible in every transaction as Boreham Wood paid nothing as they are our Affiliate Club.

I sent some players to other clubs despite they could be a valuable players for most Championship sides but they are not suitable to our 4-3-3 formation. That was a case for players like Jack Stacey, Tyler Frost or Tarique Fosu. 

What about new players in the squad? I signed younsters Dan Crowley from Arsenal, striker Lee Angol from Peterborough, midfielder Jermaine Anderson from Newcastel (record transfer fee), young central defender Ashley Wiley and midfielder Philip Billing on loan from Huddersfield.

You can see their stats below but Jermaine Anderson was bought to the starting XI and he met all expectations as he was one of the best player during his first season in the club.

2017/2018 Transfers Summary

Competitions Review 2017/2018

Both domestic cup was succesful. In EFL Cup we beat Wycombe, Cambridge, Ipswich, Hull and we ended our journey in the Quarter Final after a 3-0 defeat with Manchester United at Old Trafford.


FA Cup was also good as we beat Cambridge again and Leeds. We progressed to the 5th Round and we were 1-0 up at Stamford Bridge thanks to goal by Josh Barrett but Oscar and Kenedy scored one goal each and Chelsea won 2-1.


Championship should be divided to three parts. The first one – from 5th August to 17th October – was awful. During the first 13 league matches we won only three matches – Nottingham Forest, Barnsley and Charlton. In seven matches we were defeated and thre matches ended with draw.


But then…

…we caught our breath and moved to much better way. We drew with Fulham but then we gradually beat Derby, Leeds, Rotherham, Bolton and Birmingham and moved to higher position in the table.

This good form continued despite it not looks so great if there are six draws in a row but it was better than defeats…

The unbeaten series ended at the end of February after another wins over Newcastle or Villa and draws with Wolves and Brentford.


The third part of the league started with defeats to Barnsley and Brighton. Until the end of the season we also lost to Birmingham and Sheffield Wednesday.

Despite we were around Play-off places thanks to previous good results I knew many matches before the end we’ll not reach one of the Play-ff spot because our performances in this period were not good enough.


In cooperation with some injuries we were able to finish 10th in the league 12 points behind the sixth place. It was worse league season from us then the previous one but as I wrote in the first part of this save I don’t need to be promoted to the Premier League immediately at any price.

Newcastle, Wolves and Aston Villa secured promotion as Sheffield Wednesday, Bolton and Charlton were relegated to the League One. Blackburn, Sheffield United and Blackpool will join Championship for next season from League One. Cardiff, Middlesbrough and Huddersfield were relegated from Premier League.


Players Overview 2017/2018

As you can take a look on the whole squad after this season, their wages, value or their basic stats with matches, goals, assists and ratings included I will take a look at three players individually.


Jordan Obita played 47 matches this season, the most of all players. Best goalscorer was Dominic Samuel again but he was limited with small injuries and he was not that good as last year.

Newly signed striker Lee Angol scored seven goals but with 11 assists he was the best in the squad.


Tennai Watson…

This young right defender is one of three players who deserved mention in this post. He was on loan at Walsall during the first season and he played 42 matches in League One. Good bilance for 20-years old defender.

I decided to make him our first choice at right defender position for our second season as I wanted as much playing time as it possible for him. He played 38 league matches and five cup matches. He scored 4 goals and made 4 assists. He finished this season with 7,16 average rating and I’m very happy with his development.


Liam Kelly…

The second player is midfielder or striker Liam Kelly. He played 26 matches in the first season and he played 27 matches in the second season. But he was one of the key player there. He scored 9 league goals and made three assists and was voted man of the match five times.

He is one of our main set piece takers and he scored some lovely goals from free kicks what I posted to Twitter in recent weeks. He is great as a Deep Lying Forward but he will play very important role in our next season when we will play with a different formation.

His development is very good thanks to playing time and I really want him to keep despite some interest from bigger clubs.


Josh Barrett…

The last player who I want to mention is Josh Barrett. We had some issues with him just after the start of the save as he was wanted by West Ham, Leicester or Stoke but I refused to sell him.

He was unhappy with this approach but after a couple of weeks he was happy again to stay in the club.

In 4-3-3 formation I play him as a Defensive Forward as he is very good on the ball and he is able to hold the ball and pass it to better placed player. He played 35 matches, scored 11 goals and made 10 assists. Great season for this 19-years old player. Hope I will be able to keep him.



End of season summary of our wages is this – 280,099 per week including bonuses from 365,509 per week budget. We have only one key player squad status, 10 first team, 4 rotation, 7 backup, 18 hot prospect and 49 youngsters.

Wages will increase unfortunately because of yearly wage rise clause, most of players have this clause in their contracts. Many of them have also top division promotion wage rise so if we will promote to the Premier League there will be massive raise of wages in our squad.


The second season with Reading was not better then the first one in case of league position as we were 10th. But in case of young players development and wage decrease it was decent.


During the last two months of this season I thought about our formation and playing style as well. Maybe I thought about it too much as I made some changes and during last ten matches I tried some new tactics stuff. The result of my thinking and testing is that I will change our formation for next season.

We will moved from 4-3-3 with defensive forward, target man and deep lying forward to 4-3-1-2 with poacher+target man at the top and advanced playmaker or shadow striker behind them. Midfield trio will be changed a little as well but I will leave it here like that. I will write about it in some next post.

Until that, thank you for reading, @KeysiRensie.


A Football Manager addict and lover for many years. You can follow me on Twitter or in Football Manager Slack – #fmrensie channel.

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