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Clarke: Fans' noise so important

16 April 2015

Manager and co-chairman on Jack FM

Ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup Semi-Final with Arsenal at Wembley Stadium, manager Steve Clarke sat down with co-chairman Sir John Madejski in the Jack FM studio.

With Sir John taking up the role of interviewer, and Steve interviewee, the Royals boss was quizzed upon his career, his time as Reading so far, and the weekend’s hotly-anticipated Wembley showpiece.

The manager revealed his side will approach Arsenal with the intention of making history and is calling upon the club’s fans to create a raucous atmosphere inside the national stadium.

“The supporters have to go to Wembley and enjoy the day,” Steve told Sir John. “No matter what is happening on the pitch, we’d like the supporters to be as vocal as they can and back the team.

“I sent out a message before the quarter final with Bradford - for them to turn up in their numbers and get behind the team - and they did. The effect they had on us with the start to the game, won us the tie.

“The atmosphere in the stadium; the players were energised by the noise that the fans created. That won us the game. They understand how big a part they need to play.

“We’ve got Sweet Caroline now, and I think the fans should adapt the song and make their own words for it. So that when they go to whatever game it is, they can make it their anthem.

“There are two sides to the day of an FA Cup Semi Final. For the supporters, it’s to go and enjoy the day, for the players with the only focus to be on the match. The players don’t go for the day, they go to win.”

Steve won the FA Cup as a player and a coach with Chelsea and also lifted the League Cup at Wembley as a Blues player, and Liverpool coach, and he’s hoping to add another success to his already-impressive CV.

He said: “I’ve had lots of experiences at Wembley. Semis are all about winning. It’s not a game you like to lose because the losers of semi-finals get forgotten about. For us, it’s a chance and a big opportunity to make history for Reading Football Club.

“We go there with the best intentions of giving everything that we’ve got and trying to get that result that the supporters are desperate for.

“Saturday is a game of football; 11 v 11. On the day, we have to hope that Arsenal aren’t at their best because if they are then it will be very difficult for us. If Arsenal are a bit below their best, and we play as well as we can then, in football, you never know.

“I don’t get too carried away with the favourite and underdog tags. When we played Bradford at home, everyone was asking if we were under more pressure because we were favourites – it’s just a title. If you go out and perform at your best, then you’ll win the game.”

Steve Clarke and Sir John Madejski were talking on “Round at Sir John’s”, which was broadcast on Jack FM, 107fm, at 9pm on Wednesday 15th April.

Fans can listen to the full interview by clicking here.

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