Simeon’s articulate piece, which is something quite similar to this article, really did strike a cord with me – probably the inspiration to do this piece. Our message is also similar, but for what it’s worth, I feel this needs to be reinforced further before we switch our minds to something different.
This will be my only post on the dreaded and unavoidable topic of c*ronavirus, but let’s get straight in to it before we move on to talking about previous triumphs.
Dear Reading Football Club and our supporters,
Over the past couple of years, there’s been a lot of disappointment on and off the field, a lot of mixed performances. My beloved football club: you’ve made me elated, you’ve made me erupt in rage. However, most of all, you’ve taken people’s minds off their daily lives and given them an escape.
There’s no doubt you make our fanbase proud every time you get three points on the board, every time a youth graduate makes his debut, every kind gesture and the effort you make to engage with the fans. The free coach travel is just one example.
As I answered the door on Friday, I received a package. It was the match programme from the recent Barnsley home game, and I opened it up to see my mugshot and my article published on one of the pages. I tell you what, it really brought back the great memories of 2011/12 when everyone as a club came together. The re-appointment of Nigel Howe has helped to bring that community feeling back.
Let’s be honest: we aren’t the biggest fanbase, we aren’t the loudest and we haven’t established ourselves as contenders in the Championship over the past few seasons, yet we have an identity which allows us all to pull together. We’ve been through a lot together: promotions, relegations, the near-collapse of the club at the end of the 2013/14 season, an FA Cup semi-final and a pitch invasion for finishing in seventh.
While the disappointment has outweighed the positives, we have and will continue to miss our team in action. I tell you something: there’s nothing quite like waking up on matchday.
If you’re reading this and struggling to cope right now, speak to someone. If you don’t feel comfortable speaking to someone you personally know, my direct messages on Twitter are always open (@ajonesrfc). Please do not suffer in silence because one thing is for certain: football will be back, matchdays will be back. Hang on in there and relive the great memories that we’ve had in our near-150 year history.
The 106 season, our dramatic turnaround to win the 2011/12 Championship title, our run to the 2015 FA Cup semi-final, our playoff semi-final win against Fulham in 2017 - all these moments can be relived. The power of YouTube and the content that you can re-watch to get your Reading fix is needed. Whatever situation you’re in: exam uncertainty, job uncertainty, trying to battle your way through the supermarket, there will always be our Reading Football Club.
We’ve had our ups and downs but Reading FC will always be ours no matter what. We may not have the biggest fanbase, but we have some of the kindest fans and I really do take the positives and see the best in our support on Twitter.
This tough period really does emphasise one thing: we need to be kind to each other more than ever. This applies to everyone: not just us collectively, but also you as an individual. The power of social media is a huge thing. Put aside political differences, team rivalries and let’s all come together to support each other through this, because this major change in the way we’re currently conducting our lives has a bigger impact on people than some think.
And yes, it does feel very weird not reeling off stats and writing about team news, and instead writing about something which is very different to what I usually write about. I miss writing the match previews and I can’t wait to get back to writing them for all of you. I’ve written nearly 50 previews this season, and I hope that my piece ahead of the clash against Birmingham City wasn’t my last of 2019/20.
I like to think of myself as a hard news journalist, reporting facts with objectivity and not displaying a lot of emotion in my pieces. However, this is the time to get my views across because we can 100% overcome this and really make the most of this period. As journalists across the country think of ideas to talk about other than the dreaded C word, it really does seem like a time to reminisce and appreciate just how football gives us a great escape.
Reading Football Club, we’ve come a long way. Keep us updated, keep us entertained through social media and to the supporters in general, let’s be kind to each other and reflect on our triumphs of the past.
For me, I will never tire of talking about how we won 15 league games out of a possible 17 between January and April 2012. Brian McDermott, you’re a hero. And don’t even get me started on Sir Steve Coppell.
To the supporters: as we look back in to the past, time will fly by, and it won’t be long against until we’re either praising or moaning about our football club again. Either way, I can not wait. Please stay in touch with each other on Twitter and keep a look out for articles coming up on The Tilehurst End, we have a few interesting things coming up.
Stay safe, don’t do anything I wouldn’t do and talk to someone whatever state of mind you are in. Football will be back soon. In the meantime, I will be writing throughout the summer regardless whether there are fixtures or not. Promise me one thing: don’t miss my match previews too much .