Large-scale change within Reading FC Women
HIGH WYCOMBE, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 15: Jo Potter of Reading Women celebrates with teammate Remi Allen after scoring her team's first goal during the Barclays FA Women's Super League match between Reading and Tottenham Hotspur at Adams Park on December 15, 2019 in High Wycombe, United Kingdom. (Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images)

Reading FC Women have revealed that eight of the 2019/20 squad members will not have their contracts renewed for the new season.

The news comes after the Women’s Super League (WSL) and Women’s Championship have been declared finished, with the club securing a second consecutive fifth place finish in the top-flight of the women’s game in England.

Remi Allen, Charlie Estcourt, Mayumi Pacheco, Millie Farrow, Jo Potter, Rachael Laws, Sophie Howard and Maxime Bennink will all leave this summer, following the expiration of their current deals.

This has all come as a result of the financial implications of the Covid-19 outbreak, with the club needing to cut costs accordingly.

There are over 150 appearances for the club between the players, with all bar one having been involved in international squads for their respective countries.

Kelly Chambers, former captain and manager since 2014, told the club website that she was sad to see them go:

"It is never easy saying goodbye to players, but I would like to personally wish them all the best in their next adventure.

“I cannot thank them enough for all their efforts and what they have given to myself as manager, the team and the club as a whole during their careers at Reading.

“I would personally like to put on record a massive thank you to all the players; every single one of them has played a huge part in the success and development of our club.”

With this many leaving the club, the Royals are losing vast amounts of experience and quality from their ranks and will depend on a massive overhaul of the squad over the summer for the 2020/21 season.

Chambers’ side have played in the WSL since 2015, and have improved massively since their first campaign.

Since promotion, the side team have finished ninth, sixth, fourth, and fifth on two occasions as well as reaching the Women’s FA Cup semi-final last season, losing on penalties to West Ham United Women.

This news comes just a few days after the news that Reading Women may be potentially returning to Reading and play their matches at the Madejski Stadium.

The women’s team had previously played their home matches at Adams Park, home of Wycombe Wanderers, but with Gallagher Premiership rugby side London Irish moving to the Brentford Community Stadium for the coming season, there is potential for more matches at the home of the Reading FC.

Chambers told the club website:

“There's definitely potential to play some more of our games at the Madejski next season, but there's still a lot that needs to happen behind the scenes - things that need to be ironed out, scheduling of all the games. The men's team play at the Madejski of course, then there's the Under-23s that play there a lot, so it's got to fit. It's still a work in progress.

"But it would be great if we can play more games there and start to build a fan base in Reading. It will be nice for us as a club to have a fan base in the heart of the town.

"So it's got potential. And it's definitely exciting that it might be on the cards. And hopefully in the future we can iron the details out and play more of our games in 2020-21 at the Madejski."