Everyone wants a loud, supportive, positive atmosphere when they come to Reading Football Club. An environment where the players enjoy playing, the fans enjoy coming, and that does what it can to earn us three points at home.
And, as we approach two years since the inception of Club 1871, we’d like to acknowledge the difference it has made and continues to make at the Madejski.
Towards the end of the 2017-18 season, Club 1871 was born. The group was set up organically by a cluster of supporters who wanted to play their part in getting behind the team. Though initially modest in numbers, it certainly made its presence heard from the off and fast earned the support of our players.
Naturally, the initiative grew and the club wholeheartedly backed the group’s aim to ‘add another focus to improve the atmosphere and get fully behind the team, by using both old and new Reading chants to make home games feel like the best away games.’
And it continues to thrive with affordable Season Tickets and unreserved seating on matchdays, flags flying amongst a set of fans fully focussed on helping the home team perform in an encouraging environment. ‘Guilty, I support Reading.’
Absolutely vital to its success is its ethos. Club 1871 has never been about goading away fans nor berating a misplaced pass or a wayward shot from one of our players. Overwhelmingly, our supporters’ behaviour remains impeccable, both at home - across all four stands - and on our travels to away grounds. However, it can only take a very small minority to spoil it; to surge across safety netting at the top of the South Stand or to consistently provoke the away fans instead of channelling their efforts into supporting our team. It is, of course, only a small minority – but for fans’ and stewards’ safety, to comply with ground regulations and crucially to uphold the very essence of Club 1871, this has to stop.
Our Club 1871 members walk away hoarse after singing and shouting in support of our team, but they also set behavioural standards for other football fans to follow. For all in Club 1871, it has always been about enjoying the occasion and providing a positive spirit from the first whistle to the last to make Madejski Stadium a great place to be. While that continues, the club will continue to do all it can to help it further flourish.
Our fans have always been fantastic, long before the seedlings of a South Stand gathering were planted. And since it was first trialled nearly two years ago, Club 1871 has earned endorsements from the owners, senior staff, our players and the manager. It has earned plaudits from visiting fans, boardroom guests, opposition players and coaching staff. And importantly it has also been backed by our fans, now supporting our side from all four sides of Madejski Stadium.
It is important that those who represent Club 1871 continue, as a group, to protect and proactively promote its culture, its code and the mantra it adopted back in April 2018 which continues to run deep in its support of our players; to create a loud, positive atmosphere throughout every minute of the ninety at Madejski Stadium.
So on Saturday against Stoke City and in the final four home matches that follow this season, whether you are in Club 1871, with your family in the Eamonn Dolan Stand, cheering us on from the Y26 or backing us to do the business from the West Stand…be loud, be proud, back the boys and makes some noise! Thank you for your support, as always.