Reading start their League One journey with a home tie against Peterborough United, who look set to be one of the stronger sides in the division this term.
This game isn’t an ideal one for the Royals who aren’t fully ready for the new campaign - but they do have the home advantage and can count on a home crowd that will be willing to get behind them.
However, Posh are the clear favourites to take all three points away from the Select Car Leasing Stadium and Darren Ferguson’s side will be disappointed to be leaving with anything other than a win considering the hosts still need to strengthen significantly.
Ahead of this clash, we have your match preview!
What? League One Matchday 1
Who? Peterborough United
Where? Select Car Leasing Stadium
When? Saturday 5th August
Opposition Manager? Darren Ferguson
What a shambolic pre-season.
This summer was a real chance for us to rebuild and put our past problems behind us, but it has turned into a farce and there are a few key figures who are at fault for that.
Dai Yongge, Dai Xiu Li and Dayong Pang ought to be ashamed of themselves for not just what’s happened this summer - but also what’s happened in recent years. The former two need to sell up. A minority investor coming in may ease our short-term issues - but we need Mr and Ms Dai to be removed from positions of power at the SCL Stadium.
Thank you for your investment, but it hasn’t worked out. Sell up for the sake of all parties.
Losing to Sheffield Wednesday in the play-off semi-final must have been a crushing blow for Ferguson’s men who were 4-0 up after the first leg.
You could criticise Posh for their capitulation - but the Owls were superb in front of their home crowd in the second leg.
Today’s opponents may have already put that behind them and they need to if they want to be successful this term - because a potential hangover from that second leg could ruin their chances of being in the promotion mix at the end of this season.
Sell Before We Dai Update
It’s been a while since a full update has been given - but plenty has been done in the first month (with the help of the wider fanbase) and there’s still so much more we need to do.
Today’s “Sit In For Dai Out” protest has been backed by a decent number of supporters and we’re glad we have planned something that a lot of people could get behind. Going forward, we need to continue including the wider fanbase when planning protests and that’s how we can combine two of our biggest challenges.
What are our two biggest challenges then?
Number one, matchday protests may create conflict because different people want to do different things. If we can continue to agree on something like we have for today’s protest, that would be great. The support for it has been superb.
Number two, we need to involve more of the fanbase (including those not on social media) and communicate what we have done more effectively. I take full responsibility for my shortcomings on the latter.
We are already in the process of addressing this issue in a couple of different ways. Asking for ideas for protests was one way. Hopefully, SBWD updates on these match previews can also give supporters a clear idea of what we’re doing.
Here’s a list of some of the things that have been done so far:
- Today’s protest planned
- Website created including a Q&A to answer FAQs
- Merchandise available
- Letter to potential investors detailing what many fans want from them written
- Letter to potential investors detailing why they should be involved written
- Manifesto for change written
- Support gained from the local council
- Support gained from key political figures including local MPs and former Prime Minister Theresa May
- Flyers distributed in Caversham, Reading, Bracknell and other areas
- A second flyer will also be handed out today, informing people of the protest
- The first Twitter space has been done! More could be planned in the future
- Participated in media interviews with the BBC, ITV and other outlets
- Spoken to supporters of other clubs that have been in turmoil in the past 15 years to find out what the campaign should be doing and how we should protest
- ACV applications submitted to try and protect the stadium and other key assets
- Potential investors have been spoken to
- Banners created including the 106 and roulette wheel ones
- Reading Lights display sorted
- Fanzine article for The Other Face of Football written - grab your copy near the stadium today or online
Starting XI: Andresson, Guinness-Walker, Mbengue, Holmes, Yiadom, Savage, Hutchinson, Knibbs, Azeez, Carroll, Ehibhatiomhan
Jokull Andresson starts between the sticks ahead of Dean Bouzanis for me, although it would be good if we brought a new shot-stopper in if Andresson isn’t going to start.
At the back, Nesta Guinness-Walker, Amadou Mbengue, Tom Holmes and Andy Yiadom all start, although a new left-back would be ideal and Harlee Dean also has to be in the starting 11 when he’s ready to play.
Charlie Savage wins his first league start for the Royals and he appears alongside Sam Hutchinson, who will be desperate to stay fit for as many games as possible after missing a huge chunk of last season. He isn’t a reliable option - but he starts instead of Lewis Wing who may need time to get up to full fitness.
Harvey Knibbs and Femi Azeez play ahead of Savage and Hutchinson, but again, it would be good if we addressed this area again before the summer window closes.
With Sam Smith not certain to be available, Andy Carroll starts alongside Kelvin Ehibhatiomhan. This is another position that will need to be strengthened in the coming weeks.
Score Prediction: Reading 0-2 Peterborough United
Other League One Fixtures
Barnsley vs Port Vale
Blackpool vs Burton Albion
Bolton Wanderers vs Lincoln City
Cambridge United vs Oxford United
Carlisle United vs Fleetwood Town
Charlton Athletic vs Leyton Orient
Derby County vs Wigan Athletic
Northampton Town vs Stevenage
Portsmouth vs Bristol Rovers
Shrewsbury Town vs Cheltenham Town
Wycombe Wanderers vs Exeter City
All games kick off at 3pm