What’s it about?

What makes a team greater than “The Sum of the Parts”?

Ten years ago was a special time for Reading Football Club, a provincial team with a long but largely undistinguished history.

Suddenly, all the pieces of the football jigsaw clicked into place to create what was virtually a perfect team – a team that won the Football League Championship in great style, amassing a record-breaking total of 106 points in the process. The next season, their first ever in the Premier League, they confounded pundits and opponents alike by finishing eighth and narrowly missing out on European qualification.

For everyone associated with Reading Football Club, this was a ti me of wonder and excitement, a time when every match seemed to bring ever greater highs and exceed all previous expectations. But it was short-lived, and the following season they were relegated back to the Championship.

Just what happened in this brief period to transform a group of relatively unknown players into such a perfect team? Most were either at the start of their careers or coming to the end of largely unremarkable ones, so how did they all come to have the best years of their careers at precisely the same time? What was the particular combination of factors that came together simultaneously to make this team so good and so successful?

The Sum of the Parts is not just an account of what happened over those three incredible years. It’s also an in-depth analysis of how and why it happened – from the very start of the process of putting this team together to their decline when all those factors were no longer present.

This isn’t just a book for Reading supporters who want to celebrate such an incredible time in their club’s history. It’s a book for anyone interested in how football works or in discovering what the ingredients are which go together to make a team so much more than just a collection of players
– one greater than the sum of its parts.