The Royals’ game against Port Vale at the SCL Stadium was abandoned after Reading fans took to the pitch to protest against the ownership of the club.
First of all, a thank you must go to Port Vale fans for their support and understanding. We hope you had a safe journey back to Staffordshire.
Saturday was more than just football: it was about the fans, staff and the community. Whether you agree with the protest actions or not, yesterday will go down in history. Keep going Reading fans, keep fighting for our club.
After another crazy week in charge, manager Ruben Selles had his say after the game was abandoned. Selles deserves a lot of respect for everything he is doing in what are incredibly difficult circumstances. In what has been another tough week for him, he gave an honest reflection on what has happened. Here is what he said to say, he spoke to the official club website and Reading Chronicle.
Selles on the abandonment
“Firstly, our primary objective today was to complete the full match and secure a victory against our opponents. We were aware of certain issues being discussed and planned by supporters on social media, but my focus remained on the aspects that I could control.
“We always aim to play football matches, and while we understand the frustrations of the fans, as long as it doesn’t turn violent or aggressive, we respect their feelings. Together, they expressed their point, finding ways to communicate their desires.
“From my perspective, the players’ side, and our collective priority, is to play football, represent the club in the best possible manner, and, of course, win games to send the fans home happy.
“Currently, we haven’t received direct communications from the EFL to determine the outcome, but we hope to proceed with the game as planned. Ideally, a full house supporting the team would be the best scenario for us, enabling us to secure maximum points and maintain our positive league form.
“As a group, we’ve faced numerous challenges, and within the players, coaches, and the entire team, we’ve cultivated a strong working environment. The level of focus displayed by these boys is extraordinary, as seen in overcoming challenges and delivering impressive performances, contributing to our climb up the table.
“Despite the early stoppage after the first four to five minutes, we believe the challenge on Harvey Knibbs warranted a foul and a red card. Additionally, there was an incident with Paul Mukairu in the box that we believe should have resulted in a penalty - a decision that we’ve seen given against us.
“Despite the frustrations from today’s abandoned game, we will return to training this week with a sole focus on what we can control. Our aim is to execute our roles to the best of our abilities and be fully prepared for the next game.”
Selles on the pitch invasion
“We knew that something was going on, reading social media and the comments. We had a decision to make; to come here and not get distracted by those things. If it happened, it finally happened, it is okay, and we will take it.
“Sometimes these things come and never happen, and then you lose focus and concentration. We prepared ourselves to come, compete and do our best. We will take it as it comes and move forward. On 16 minutes it happened, we went inside, people made their points clear, and the game got cancelled.
“As soon as the pitch invasion happened, I made sure our players and their players were all inside the tunnel, not because I was worried about their security, I knew our people were not going to make any stupidity. It was not aggressive; it was passive and made the point.
“Immediately I called the players to the dressing room and went to the technical staff to analyse the first 15 minutes and get clips to show in case it restarted. I was asking the referee to get 15 minutes between the time they decided to restart and the restart, so we had time to go through a meeting.
“Then I went out to watch the action and had some conversations - I needed to be sure of the legal conditions of abandonment and what it meant for us. Finally, when the referee called us to call the game off my mind was already clear.”
Selles on possible outcomes
“Points deduction is there, but it is unlikely. It can be that we play with an empty stadium for one or two games, or even the rest of the season. Or a financial punishment. There is a wide variety of things, but it is not for today. It will be for a panel.”
Selles on fan protests
“I am sympathetic with the fact that we all want the best for the football club. Fans are feeling proud of what the team is doing but they are also getting frustrated. I am sympathetic, but I want to play football matches and win football matches.
“My time to go over the stuff off the pitch passed three or four months ago, so my focus is on the daily things that are happening and trying to get the players and technical staff competing in League One for all of us to go out of this club at a better place than it has been. This is my focus.
“I understand the people and the protest, but my focus is to win football matches.”
Selles on transfer exits
“We have two players who had bids, and two proposals have been accepted by the club. One of them we are managing the option of a loan back, so that will not affect us in football terms. It does not mean that they are going to leave us, the club have accepted but the players need to agree to accept those proposals.
“I understand the game and that some of my players, like Nelson Abbey, have been growing a lot and his profile is interesting not home but abroad. I also understand that I would like to keep Nelson and Tom because they have real character.
“My target was to keep my team together for the rest of the season because I think we fought really hard to be in a good moment, and to need to restart the process will take time. We don’t have time if we want to be in this league next year.”