What a special, special occasion Saturday was. It was the day that those 2,000 of us who were lucky enough to get a ticket had been dreaming about for the last nine months.
Obviously the circumstances were very different to what we’re all used to. As I’ve said before, only 2,000 of us were let in, there was social distancing and we all had to wear face masks throughout the game. But I don't think any of us really cared about that.
There were, of course, a huge amount of fans who weren’t able to be at the game. But hopefully this monumental day gives us all a bit more hope that normality is on the horizon, and before too long we’ll all be back at the Mad Stad.
The game itself was the perfect script really. A Nottingham Forest sending-off within the opening 15 minutes gave Lucas Joao a chance to bury the spot kick with a man advantage - which he duly did.
Michael Morrison added a second just after the half time break and we saw out the game in a more than comfortable fashion from there on out.
Here's how the fans reacted to an important three points...
Return of the fans
This was, of course, the massive talking point - and for very good reason.
It was emotional, it was special, it was home. I don’t think non-football people realise just how how important football is to us fans. It’s a release and 90 minutes when nothing else matters. And we finally got those 90 minutes back after nine long months.
Here’s the best of the reaction from some of the lucky 2,000 who managed to get themselves a ticket...
After 9 months, we were finally allowed back into the Mad Stad today.— Helen Bullen (@PAN1F) December 5, 2020
Not gonna lie, my eyes leaked.
Thank you to everyone at @ReadingFC who made it happen.
Thinking of those who couldn’t be there today - that win was for you.
We’ll be back together soon.
Stay strong #readingfc pic.twitter.com/9Y1AnrO8nZ
Is there any better place to be on a Saturday afternoon ?— cameron macken (@ronniemac93) December 5, 2020
Was so good to be back today. Well done to everyone at @ReadingFC for working hard to make it happen.
Great performance ✅
Clean sheet ✅
3 points ✅ #readingfc pic.twitter.com/gpvJa9TQ1j
While I was anxious prior to going in, that meant the absolute world being back at the Mad Stad today after 9 months.— Ben Honeywill (@Honeywill_11) December 5, 2020
Certainly shed a tear when stepping out to see that pitch, and after celebrating that first goal. So special to be back home #readingfc #REAFOR pic.twitter.com/4SE9j01api
287 days since we were last at a football match together and although the mask is hiding my smile, I literally could not be happier to be back at the Madejski with my Mum ⚪ #readingfc pic.twitter.com/k8y9acqfVj— Becki White (@MissBeckaEllen) December 5, 2020
Very happy to be back at my second home today. ⚪️ It feels fantastic to be able to watch live sport once again, and a big step towards ‘normality’ at least for myself. #ReadingFC pic.twitter.com/H9ZBOQTIaW— Alex Everson (@Readingfanman) December 5, 2020
We didn't need the reassurance of seeing him in the flesh on Saturday to know that this kid is a serious talent. But we got it nonetheless and boy was it a joy to behold.
I can’t remember us producing a player that was this good at this age. Gylfi Sigurdsson, obviously, was and still is a sensational talent - but Michael Olise is 18 years old. It’s just ridiculous. We need to enjoy him while we can.
He put in another sublime performance on Saturday afternoon and has more than cemented himself in the hearts of the Reading faithful...
Matt Mills slapping a £30-40 million price take on Olise on Sky. Good lad. #readingfc— G (@mansetfc) December 5, 2020
One thing for sure with olise .... if The owner doesn't want to sell him he quite simply won't. Even at 30-40 million . Got to tie him down to a long term contract ASAP #readingfc— Dean Bennett (@DeanBennett1993) December 5, 2020
Did Michael Olise get lost on his way to Barcelona? #readingfc— Jonathan Kirkwood (@JBK_92) December 5, 2020
What a special day, that was a long time coming. It was so good to see the players up close for the first time months. Olise looks five times better in person than what he looks on the TV. Mad how he's 18 and he's picking out key passes for fun #readingfc— Jack (@thesimpsonRFC) December 5, 2020
Another fantastic performance by Olise, what a talent #readingfc— Dominic (@domwindle) December 5, 2020
Will make the most of watching Olise & Ejaria play together this year. Class #readingfc— Jordan Brown (@jordanbrownjb) December 5, 2020
Olise is unreal, enjoy him this season as he’s off in the summer #readingfc— Nick Houlton (@Houlton11) December 5, 2020
The Laurent/Rino partnership
There may be a piece coming from yours truly in the coming days that delves into this topic a bit deeper, but this season these two have been outstanding - and Saturday was no different.
Josh Laurent has just been one of the signings of the season, and one of our best signings in recent times, while Rino has just been the Andy Rinomhota we all got to know and love when he first broke into the team.
A serious midfield partnership, and one of the fans are starting to really, really love...
Laurent misses a tackle, Rinomhota bails him out and then they have a little cuddle to say thanks.— Greg Double (@Dubstep1988) December 5, 2020
Absolutely adorable. #readingfc
Is Rino and Laurent the best midfield pair we have had since Sidwell and Harper #readingfc— Liam Goodhew (@LJG1871) December 5, 2020
As good as some of the attacking players were yesterday. My stand out moment was when Laurent worked tirelessly back to delay a counter attack. He slowed it down but didn’t quite stop it but then Rino came storming in. The 2 then embraced. #readingfc— Jon Botting (@Jon_Rfc) December 6, 2020
Josh Laurent on a free is the best bit of business this club has done in a long time. #ReadingFC— Louis Stagg (@dinglouis_) December 5, 2020
Laurent and Rino give me serious Sidwell and Harper vibes and I’m all for it #readingfc— Chris (@ChrissRFC) December 5, 2020
A great day for everyone involved. Well done to the club, to Veljko Paunovic and to the players. It made the return to the ground everything those 2,000 fans could’ve wished for.
They’re like buses aren't they! Wait nine months for one and two come along at once. I’ll be lucky enough to be in the crowd on Wednesday too when we can hopefully grab another important three points against Birmingham City.