Academy to pay pitchside tribute to Eamonn DolanThis weekend, a Guard of Honour formed by a selection of our current crop of Academy players, will welcome the Royals and Preston North End onto the pitch at Madejski Stadium - in tribute to Eamonn Dolan.
Saturday’s season opener will be dedicated to one of our own…Eamonn Dolan, and as we kick off the season at the start of a brand new era under Jaap Stam, one man’s impact on our club will remain at the forefront of all our minds.
Dolan joined the club in 2004 and led our Academy through a golden era, a spell which saw 32 Academy players come through the ranks to make their first team debuts with Reading. So it is apt that a fixture that is to be dedicated to Eamonn will begin with some of our young prospects welcoming the first team players they aspire to emulate onto the pitch...young lads who worked under Eamonn in recent years and saw first hand the impact Dolan had on so many burgeoning footballers' lives and careers.
Before a ball has even been kicked, we will officially open the newly-named Eamonn Dolan Stand at 1.30pm as the turnstiles open for the first time in 2016-17.
The stand itself will have a very special new look to suit its new name and Co-Chairman Sir John Madejski will join members of Eamonn’s family to unveil a plaque, dedicating one side of our stadium to a man who dedicated so much time and hard work to Reading Football Club.
Inside the bowl, as soon as the turnstiles open, we will be featuring footage of some of Eamonn's greatest achievements whilst at Reading Football Club - including our dramatic FA Youth Cup quarter-final win over Liverpool and the two-legged U21s' victory against Manchester City which saw us lift the Premier League Cup at Madejski Stadium.
But please be sure to be at Madejski Stadium early and in your seats before 2.45pm to watch a fitting pre-match video compilation dedicated to Eamonn’s life and career.
Jaap Stam’s side will wear black armbands in memory of a great man and Preston have also confirmed that they will sport black armbands in Eamonn's memory.
Around the ground, volunteers will be collecting for ‘Action on Bladder Cancer’, while the matchday programme will include just a cross-section of the hundreds of tributes and messages left in the book of condolence just outside main reception here at Madejski Stadium over the last couple of months. And we would also like to invite both home and away fans to join us in a minute’s applause in Eamonn’s honour before kick-off.
Be here to celebrate Eamonn! He was a man who shared your passion for this football club and who inspired all he met.