The international break fell at a time when normally, as a club, we wholeheartedly unite with the nation in remembering those who have fought and often fallen in honour of our country and celebrate those who continue to fight on our behalf in war and conflict around the world. So this weekend, we have chosen to use Saturday's fixture against the league leaders to mark Remembrance Day.
Supporters’ Trust at Reading (STAR) are set to hold a Remembrance Service prior to the match and all supporters are invited to attend the service which will take place at approximately 1.30pm beside the Remembrance Wall by Gate 1.
Sir John Madejski will lay a wreath on behalf of Reading Football Club’s Community Trust and Mick Gooding will do the same on behalf of Reading Football Club, while Eddie Dove (on behalf of The Vice-Presidents), Ian Maynard (on behalf of Supporters' Trust at Reading), Carol Buckell (on behalf of the Relatives of fallen Players), Luke Anderson (on behalf of the Young Royals), Ron Grant and George Friel (on behalf of Reading FC Former Players' Association), John Rogers (on behalf of the Royal British Legion) and Paul Ellix (on behalf of the Centenary of Freddie Wheatcroft's death) will also lay wreaths. Rev. Vernon Orr - Vicar of St. Agnes with St. Paul and St. Barnabus – will conduct the ceremony alongside Steve Prince, Chaplain of Reading Football Club.
The Royal British Legion will be holding a pre-match charity collection with volunteers based all around the ground throughout today, so please give generously. And we’re delighted to welcome back the Reading Scottish Pipe Band who will perform as part of the pre-match ceremony and then play outside the megastore ahead of kick off.
Sergeant David Adam MBE will march the match ball out to the centre circle ahead of kick off. He has been in HM Armed Forces for 20 years as a member of the Royal Air Force and he has been on active duty in conflicts in the Balkans, the Gulf, the Falklands, Afghanistan and the Middle East – where he is returning to soon after today’s fixture. He has been a Reading fan since attending our Remembrance Day fixture here last season and will stay to cheer on the Royals with his son Niles once more this afternoon. Please give David a great reception.
At 2.57pm, we ask that all supporters are in their seats. Mark Dallas will perform ‘The Last Post’ from the centre circle and after the rendition has concluded, home and away fans will be asked to remain silent for one minute upon the sound of the referee’s first whistle. Together we will honour those who have bravely served our country until the minute’s silence is brought to an end by a second whistle.
In the match itself, our players will wear poppies on their shirts and the shirts will be signed and auctioned off after the fixture to raise funds for The Royal British Legion. Sky Bet, the title sponsor of the EFL, are once again leading the auction of hundreds of signed, match-worn poppy shirts in aid of The Poppy Appeal on the CharityStars website. The three previous Sky Bet Poppy shirt auctions have raised in excess of £300,000 to date and the bookmaker has also donated more than 400 tickets for EFL games this month to the Legion for use by current servicemen and women from across the UK.
Sky Bet spokesman Sandro Di Michele said, “The Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal is a cause we’ve worked closely with for nearly four years and we’re always impressed by the swell of support we see from EFL clubs and their fans. To be in a position where we can raise a huge amount of money for such a worthwhile cause and pay our respects to those who have served our country is an honour.”
The Royal British Legion’s Ben France added, “We're grateful to Sky Bet for supporting the Legion through the shirt auctions and to the football league community who each year dig deep and donate to the Poppy Appeal. The Legion’s work is made possible thanks to the public’s generous support and the money raised from the auction will help us provide support to the Armed Forces community wherever it’s needed.”