Reading chairman John Madejski says he has not yet given up on the club’s fight for Premier League survival.
The Berkshire side are rooted to the bottom of the English top flight, 10 points from safety, with just four league fixtures remaining this season.
But the 71-year-old insists that anything is possible in football.
“It’s not over until the fat lady sings and she’s not singing just yet,” he told the club’s official website.
“Of course it would take something very special indeed for us not to be playing in the Championship next season. Funny things happen in football and if I don’t have the belief as chairman then how can I expect anyone else to have it? So I’d never condemn Reading until anything is confirmed.”
Madejski went on to defend the sacking of manager Brian McDermott earlier this season, despite Reading having picked up just one point in four games under his successor Nigel Adkins.
“Anton [Zigarevich, the club's owner] is football mad but it wasn’t a spur of the moment thing,” he added.
“Everybody knows it’s all about winning. If managers don’t win they can expect to leave, in spite of any previous record, it’s why they get paid good money.
“I’m very happy with Nigel Adkins, he’s very enthusiastic and motivating the team, and I’m delighted Anton owns the club because it’s not for the faint-hearted.”
Madejski also remains confident that Reading can bounce back from their probable relegation, citing the “shrewd” manner in which the club is run as a reason for positivity.
“Reading always punches way above its weight and will continue to do so. Everybody plays their part in that, from the receptionists on the front desk to owner Anton Zingarevich,” he continued.
“Having been promoted twice to the Premier League is no mean feat and I’d like to think under my stewardship we’ve done quite a lot, and now with Anton.
“Bearing in mind it’s the fourth-oldest club in the country, established in 1871, everyone has done a marvellous job over time and it’s all about teamwork.
“We’ve been successful growing our own, and we’ve always bought shrewdly with young people coming through. Well, I say they’re young, that’s just because I’m so old!
“Gylfi [Sigurdsson] is a great example of course. The point is that we do very well considering who we are and what we are. I’m very proud of that.”