The Wokingham Paper

Reading FC CEO Nigel Howe addresses Royals fans amid coronavirus pandemic

Madejski Stadium

READING FOOTBALL CLUB Chief Executive Nigel Howe has penned an open letter to Royals fans regarding the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The English Football League took the decision to postpone all fixtures last Friday, which means that the Royals will not be in action until at least April, 3 when the situation will be reassessed.

Howe wrote: “When we talk about our club’s identity being entrenched in community, this is what we mean. And this is when community matters.

“On Saturday, we might have won or we might have lost against Stoke City. Our stands may have witnessed scenes of celebration or of shared disappointment. But we would have accepted either at the weekend. Because it is our responsibility within society to bring the community together. It is a privileged role which we will be even more proud to continue as soon as we possibly can.

“This weekend and in the weeks that follow, we’ll miss each other. Results are not important right now. Promotions, relegation’s, play-off battles, cup competitions can all be put on hold. But football and our club’s bond with its supporters is important. It should not be underestimated. It does matter. And we will work hard to keep that connection strong through what we all anticipate will be a very testing period for our community as part of this global crisis.”

It is yet unknown whether the Championship season, among several other professional and n no-professional leagues across the country will be able to be completed, but Howe reiterated the importance for the club to protect its supporters, players and staff at this current time as a priority.

“And we would like to urge our fans to follow all the guidance given, be calm and sensible, take extra care of themselves and be kind to others – especially the elderly and the most vulnerable.

“We’d also like to encourage all supporters of Reading Football Club to consider how they might be able to help others. For many fans, Reading Football Club is a second home, an extended family. And, even when we are apart, we have to stick together.

“Think of those you might normally have bumped into in the concourses this weekend, the person you sit next to on the shuttle bus to the game on a Saturday, or those who sit around you at Madejski Stadium. Perhaps you can think of a fellow fan who might be feeling more isolated or anxious than most at this difficult time. And think of a way you can ease their worries and help. It may just be picking up the phone to talk about Michael Gilkes’ goal in the Simod Cup Final or Graeme Murty clattering Kingsley after scoring that penalty in our 106 season. It might help.

“This is what being a community club means. It is extended family, coming together. And we want our family, our fanbase, to pull together right now.”

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