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The Tilehurst End Press Box Experience

The Tilehurst End were lucky enough to have backstage media passes at Wembley. @ThatMarcMayo and @WilliamOwain relive a memorable day.

We were excited. Very excited. So excited we created a new Tilehurst End Vine account. Aren't we cool and trendy?

Contrasting experiences

Carrying his laptop meant Will was wearing a backpack to a football match for the first time. It felt weird. It was also a big mistake when he decided to enter a pub full of Reading fans as he got mistaken for an Arsenal fan.

Marc meanwhile took in the atmosphere on Wembley Way and filmed the first ever Tilehurst End Vine.

Entering the stadium

Going into the players tunnel

With their press passes collected, Marc and Will were taken to the players tunnel in time to see both teams come off the bus. Their Arsenal counterparts admitted they barely recognised a single Reading player.

Marc and Will then realised they watch too much Championship football as they saw about four French Arsenal players walk past that they'd never seen before.

The Reading players looked slightly surprised to see people waiting for them and even more surprised to see two of them filming them. Chalobah had to run back onto the bus as he forgot something. Not a good start.

Steve Clarke walked past with such a friendly smiling face on, it almost seemed like he was beckoning for someone to greet him. Our lads responded with a "good luck" which Clarke replied "thank you". We got giddy at the knees.

Up close you could see why Olivier Giroud was recently voted best looking player in the Premier League, but you could also tell that he knows, as he walked in like a strutting peacock.

Just like Reading, the only Arsenal man to acknowledge the watching press was their manager. Arsene Wenger was so confident he responded with a "hi" to a "good luck" message.

Just before we headed pitchside the teams were announced in the tunnel. For the first time ever the Tilehurst End was first with the news. We beat Get Reading and the BBC. We beat everyone. For two minutes we had exclusive news.


After the excitement of being in the players tunnel, Marc and Will were then taken pitchside. With their press passes on they mingled with the BBC pundits and  Reading players taking in the atmosphere. The BBC did not wave though Martin Keown did allow the lads a picture with him.

The Reading players then came out onto the pitch. Jamie Mackie made a point of going over to Ryan Duval who was also pitch side.

The pre match atmosphere

With 20 minutes to go before kick off, the Tilehurst End's media pack headed back to the press box to set up for the game. As the atmosphere grew it was noticeable that one team was easily outsinging the other: Reading! We even mugged off Arsenal with their choice of song. We acted like this happens all the time.

The game

After all the build up the game was finally here. It soon became apparent how hard it is to be a football journalist especially if you're reporting on the team you support. We both tried to take in the day as fans, support the team, enjoy the media experience and do our reporting duties for the Tilehurst End.

At half time Will sent out a tweet that so perfectly summed up the game the club's twitter account retweeted it.

As Will checked over the match report that Marc was writing during the game, our match reporter headed into the press box to grab some food.

Some waiter was clearly worried that Will would feel left out so came to the Tilehurst End table to offer him some food. Table service at football. Strange experience.

Then THAT moment happened. Would we be professional or would we celebrate if Reading score? We celebrated. We had to.

As this point like everyone else we started to really believe we could do it. Will wanted to join in with the chanting but knew he couldn't. So instead he sent out tweets that got progressively more positive.

At the end of 90 minutes Will's pride in seeing his team match Arsenal saw him send out two tweets that are so positive even the club's twitter account didn't retweet them.

As Marc continued to professionally write his match report he pointed out that Will's positivity probably would look out of place on a cold Tuesday night in Rotherham.

Then Arsenal scored.

Full time

It was such a cruel way to lose. Marc finished off his match report and published it within fifteen minutes of full time.

As Wembley stadium emptied, Will wrote up the player ratings for the game.

Heading home

We're sure we weren't the only Reading fans for whom the whole day flew by.

Big thanks to the FA, Mischief PR, the Tilehurst End and Wembley Stadium for giving us this amazing experience. We hope we didn't annoy too many fans with Will's uber positive tweets.