At Reading Football Club, we actively meet with supporters on a regular basis and openly encourage and embrace ideas from all corners which might help us, as a club, provide a better matchday experience for you, our supporters.
Atmosphere is often on the agenda. When the Madejski is rocking, our supporters can create an incredible environment which only helps to inspire our players on the pitch.
A number of supporters who have played a positive part in recent fan focus groups held by the club, contacted us with a proposal to group together a number of like-minded supporters, intent on singing their hearts out in unequivocal support of the manager and his players, behind the goal in the South Stand. The sole aim was to improve the atmosphere in the ground with a concerted effort to be loud, be proud in an attempt to back the boys and make some noise.
This was a proposal the club were more than happy to support and a number of representatives from the club helped to make the necessary arrangements to enable a group of around 50 supporters to gather together in the South Stand for our meeting with Preston North End here earlier this month.
The impact was evident to all. The volume levels increased and the chants were entirely positive – focussing on improving our team’s performance and the individuals sporting the blue and white hoops out on the pitch. Three points later, ‘Ain’t Nobody like Jon Dadi’ and ‘He’s one of our own’ continued to echo around the concourses.
This initiative wasn’t run by the club. A few free drinks were laid on in the Fan Zone for the group of supporters, but this was a fan-led proposal which the players themselves clearly appreciated. After the win, Chris Gunter echoed the sentiments of a number of other first team players, tweeting “You had a right go! Good on you all. Thank you”.
And Liam Moore has taken his appreciation to another level.
“I’ve always been a player who likes to interact with the fans, in person when I can or on social media. And a group of fans, wanting to create more of an atmosphere at the Madejski, got in contact with me,” he said.
“Their vocal support is a big thing for us, as players, and it has gone down very well in the dressing room. One of them contacted me and told me they were very keen to keep the project going and get to a few away games before the end of the season…so it made sense to help them out with that.
“As players, we appreciate the support that we get at Reading and I offered to put on a coach for the original group of 50 fans!”
Moore remained true to his word. An invoice for an independently organised coach has been settled and now our centre-back’s generosity is set to take our set of South Standers on the 380-mile round trip to Sheffield Wednesday this weekend.
“For me, it’s not too big a thing to do. We are lucky enough to be paid a good wage and that has a lot to do with the support that the fans give us. So just to be able to give a little bit back is important for me and I’m sure it’ll be a good thing for those wanting to make the long trip there and back on Saturday.”
“What they have started is massive and I fully understand that it’s a relationship that must work both ways. We need to give the supporters something to cheer about, which hasn’t always been the case enough this season.
“Now we need to stay in this league and if they can give us an extra percent or two then they are doing exactly what we need from them.”