I’m sure you haven’t missed that Reading fans are starting a new initiative in the South Stand at the Madejski Stadium. In an attempt at improving the matchday atmosphere both by increasing the volume and creating a more positive vibe, small groups of supporters have formed mini singing sections in the games against Preston North End and Sunderland.
For a more in-depth look at the initiative, plus why we think it’s a really good idea, you can check out Olly’s piece on it just below (although it was written before the Sunderland game).
On Wednesday, it was revealed by the club that Liam Moore has forked out his own cash to offer the original group free travel up to Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday. It’s a fantastic gesture from a player who was already really popular with the supporters, and will surely be even more so after this.
Speaking about his decision, he told the official site:
“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.”
He also praised the South Stand singing stand initiative in general, saying that it had “gone down very well in the dressing room”. It did seem to play its part in Paul Clement’s second and third home games as Reading boss, with the Royals earning a gritty 1-0 win over Preston before grinding out a point against Sunderland.
“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.”
For me, Reading teams are at their best when - as Moore says - there’s a relationship between fans and players that work both ways. When the connection from supporters to team is particularly good, results pick up. Reading have gone through a toxic, damaging cycle in recent years with the club struggling to find success on the pitch, and supporters becoming increasingly disillusioned in the stands.
The really good thing at the moment is that both fans and players are playing their parts in our recent upturn in fortunes. Performances have, for the most part, improved, and the supporters are buying into it by backing the team - not just in the South Stand but around the stadium, with the return of the drummer on Saturday boosting the atmosphere in the East, West and Eamonn Dolan Stands.
It’s great to see the manager and team responding to that backing with both small gestures (like spending more time after games applauding the home support as they did on Saturday) and big (like forking out for a coach).
Cheers Liam, you’re a gent.