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Preston Fans Verdict: Royals Secure First Three Points

A round-up of how the fans reacted after Reading secured their first three points of the season at the Select Car Leasing Stadium.

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Three words: what a day. It’s an overused cliche, but on Friday night I’m sure the Reading faithful felt like kids on Christmas Eve. 17 months of waiting to have fans properly back at the Mad Stad (sorry, but it'll always be the Mad Stad) for a league game and boy did the players make it worth the wait.

The goosebumps when the players walked out for kick off, the bouncing atmosphere, an academy player on the scoresheet, a beautifully worked winning goal, Rafael wonder saves and a special, special moment with Pauno at the full time whistle. It was everything I wanted Saturday to be.

Most importantly we managed to get that first win of the season - and don’t underestimate how vital it is to get those first three points under the belt as quickly as you possibly can.

Beyond the result though, it was just so special to be in the company of more than 1,999 fans at a home league match again. The atmosphere was electric and the scenes when both goals went in were sensational.

Here's how the fans reacted to some of the key talking points to come from the game...

Fans are back

Obviously we had the first game of the season at Stoke last Saturday and the cup game at home to Swansea in midweek, but this one, the first league game of the season at home, had a very special feel to it.

It’s what we’ve been waiting for ever since we went into lockdown circa 17 months or so ago, and it was definitely worth the wait. We have our football back ladies and gents, never take it for granted again.

The fans were certainly buzzing to be back at it, and who can blame them?

John Swift

I’ve said it countless times before and I’ll keep saying it until I’m Royal Blue in the face, when he’s fully fit, there are few better in this league than John Swift.

He has started this season in imperious form, beginning with a goal and an assist last weekend and adding another goal this time out against Preston, which was a beautifully worked team goal that he was unsurprisingly at the heart of.

We are very lucky to have him, and if he keeps continuing to perform at this level, he will be some player for us this season - the player we all know he can be.

Here’s how the fans reacted to his star showing...

Femi Azeez

Ladies and gentlemen, I introduce to you the next gem to come from the Reading academy: Femi Azeez.

After an impressive pre-season, the youngster has certainly carried that form into the new campaign. Whereas you may not always get the quality straightaway from players graduating from the academy, you will always get the fight, tenacity and hard work - of which Azeez has shown in abundance so far.

He is direct, full of pace and on Saturday he was a constant thorn in Preston’s side. Obviously, he managed to get on the scoresheet too, which triggered some sensational scenes in front of Club 1871. He is showing some really promising fans, which is making the fans stand up and take notice...


I could have picked six or seven different talking points for this game. Swift, Azeez, fans being back, Rafael saves, that winning goal, the moment with Pauno at full time - it was just a really special day and a day that we’ve waited far, far too long for.

But now all eyes will be on Tuesday night as Bristol City come to town. We all know that momentum is key in this league, and all eyes will be firmly set on trying to start some of that with another win.