On Sunday 16th December, our high-flying Under-23s host Manchester United at Madejski Stadium in the Premier League 2.
Scott Marshall’s men top the table and are 13 games unbeaten following a Premier League Cup win over Fulham on Monday night, so the visit of Ricky Sbragia’s side won’t hold any fear for our young players - and we want as many Royals fans to come and enjoy the encounter but also have some festive fun nine days before Christmas!
That Sunday is being billed as our ‘Academy Christmas Extravaganza’ and two hours before our Under-23s kick off against United, all our other Academy age groups and their families are set to take part in a very special Santa Run!
Our Academy age groups will all don blue Santa hats for a 5K run around Madejski Stadium and Green Park which will start and end outside the South Stand - and every runner will be paying a £5 entry fee and raising sponsorship funds for two very worthwhile causes!
Half of the money raised will go towards Action Bladder Cancer UK, a charity chosen on behalf of the late Eamonn Dolan and his family.
The other half of the funds raised will be given directly to the Reading FC Community Trust’s disability programme - members of our Deaf Team, some of the club’s Primary Stars staff and a number of students from a local SEN school who work with our Trust coaches on a regular basis will all be taking part in the Santa Run, ho, ho ho-ing their way around the circuit.
Kingsley will be lacing his trainers! This year, however, we are unable to open up the run to supporters. BUT we hope that this might be the start of a regular much bigger event which can effectively bring the club together at Christmas and engage supporters and the local community.
While fans can’t run the 5K, they can support those doing the dash! Either in person, by cheering our Academy lads on to the finishing line and then supporting our U23s from the stands, or by donating to the event’s JustGiving page set up to support the worthiest of causes:
Post-Santa Run, there will be plenty of festive fun for all the family to enjoy. All the runners will be able to enjoy refreshments and mince pies in the Princess Suite and some of our first team’s Academy stars will be on site to meet and greet players, supporters and their families.
Mr Claus himself is set to make an appearance with his grotto in the Windsor Suite, where there will be an opportunity to get your face painted and both write and post a letter to Lapland in time for the wish list to get to him before the big day!
Then, at 1pm, it’s down to business for our Under-23s who take to the field against Manchester United.
Entry to the game is FREE to all Season Ticket Holders and just £3 for Adults and £1 for Concessions on the day of the game. So we want as many Royals fans in the Lower West Stand at Madejski Stadium to see what the next generation of first team footballers have to offer!
Our Academy age groups have been practising their penalties this week and the best spotkick takers will compete in a half-time shootout on the hallowed turf, while our Under-8s are going to form a Guard of Honour for the two teams.
The Santa Run and the stadium activities will start at 11am outside the South Stand, gates to the stadium will open at 12noon, while the match itself kicks off an hour later at 1pm. We look forward to welcoming as many fans to our Academy Christmas Extravaganza as possible!
Remember, if you can make it or not on Sunday 16th December, you can still donate - click here to gve what you can!