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Ali thankful for fans’ backing

2 May 2016

Goalkeeper discusses Player of the Season award

Royals goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi expressed his thanks to the Reading supporters, after their votes resulted in him being named as the club’s Player of the Season for the 2015/16 season.

Ali’s name rung around Madejski Stadium as he collected the award on Saturday – as it has so many times this season.  He edged out Paul McShane and Ollie Norwood in the fans’ voting.

“Thank you to everyone who voted for me, it is a very proud moment for me and I’m delighted about it,” said Ali.  “It’s nice to have this reward.  It’s been fantastic for me all season and to come here to this football club I’m very happy.
“It is always nice to have such good support behind you, and they were behind me straight away since I came to this club and it felt like home straight away.  It has been great for me since the first day of the season. To have this good relationship between me and the fans has helped me a lot.

“There have been some difficult moments for me during the season but when you have such fantastic supporters you can come back very strong.  I think the gaffer and Dave Beasant and the whole group of goalkeepers here at the club have been fantastic all season and we help each other.”

The stopper has made some notable saves throughout the campaign – that one-on-one stop to deny Jermaine Beckford on Saturday summing things up well – and also captained the team on three occasions.

But for all his appreciate of these personal accolades and achievements, he wants nothing more than to achieve success with Reading in the coming season.
“The most important moment of the season for me was wearing the captain’s armband,” he continued.  “The chance to be captain of the team and as the first Arab from the Asian Middle East to win this award has given me more confidence going into next season and to give something special for the club.
“We need to think about ourselves as a team and put a target up the top end of the table, get some good wins and push ourselves back to the Premier League.  The facilities available here are for a Premier League team – we’ll try to get there next season.”

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