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Reading A-A Port Vale: The Biggest Protest Yet

Ross was down for the Player Ratings, but with Reading’s game against Port Vale abandoned due to a mass pitch protest, here are instead some general thoughts from him on how the day unfolded.

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Here’s the spirit of what I wrote for the Player Ratings before fans rightfully made their voices heard today: Lewis Wing is really good, Femi Azeez is really fun to watch. I also spotted that Harvey Knibbs was making some nice runs.

It all seems a bit silly now in the wake of the biggest and most significant protest from Reading fans yet.

You already know the story. After just 16 seconds Reading fans were throwing large numbers of tennis balls onto the field to delay the game’s proper start until the fifth minute.

After 16 minutes fans stormed onto the field and made their way towards the tunnel as the ref hastily got the players off. Ruben Selles stayed to watch for a little while.

A red banner reading “Football has an ownership problem” stood out among the sea of blue and white.

After an hour, though the crowd had thinned, a final group held firm for over an hour, and saw the match abandoned for their efforts.

Obviously as the protest went on, things got contentious at times but the important thing for Royals now is that we stay united.

As somebody who really tries to concentrate almost solely on the football being played, this was the week that broke my back.

From the public attention and embarrassment of The Athletic article to the reports of beloved local boys being sold, and from the Selles podcast to the mass protest itself, this has possibly been the biggest and worst week in Reading’s modern history.

It has made it impossible to stick to football. The club and community are being dragged through the mud in an appalling manner. It’s impossible to look away.

What we need now is the repeated national coverage that embarrasses the owner out of the club.

This is a national scandal. Whether or not you believe the idea that “it could happen to your club”, Dai Yongge is showing potential other cancerous owners how much they can get away with. He is pushing the limits in a way that men in similar situations will see as precedent-setting rather than extreme.

The national media is made up of individuals, and all of them have teams they support and communities they feel connected to. All of those teams are vulnerable if this precedent is set.

To anyone reading this from any club: make a stand now to ensure our clubs, our cultural institutions and emotional bedrocks are not something vindictive “billionaires” can toy around with.

Player Ratings

Fans: 10

Got up and down the pitch. Covered every blade of grass. Made their voices heard.