Reading followers plot biggest ownership protest in 40 years for Portsmouth visit - and Fratton faithful urged to join in

Pompey fans protest before the FA Cup fourth round clash with Sunderland in January 2010. Picture: Steve ReidPompey fans protest before the FA Cup fourth round clash with Sunderland in January 2010. Picture: Steve Reid
Pompey fans protest before the FA Cup fourth round clash with Sunderland in January 2010. Picture: Steve Reid
Pompey’s visit to the Madejski Stadium will coincide with Reading’s biggest ownership protest in 40 years.

And the Fratton faithful are being urged to join in, standing side-by-side with fans battling against their owners.

During under-fire Dai Yongge’s reign, Reading have been deducted 16 points over three seasons, slapped with a transfer embargo until January 2025, while it is estimated the Royals are around £100m in debt to their owner.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The Chinese tycoon is now staying away from the Madejski Stadium, following recent protests against Burton and Bolton which involved tennis balls being thrown onto the pitch mid-game.

Fans fearing for the future of their club are now ramping up the demonstrations for Saturday’s visit of Pompey, while also pushing for a change in footballing governance.

Protest group ‘Sell Before We Dai’ are organising a pre-match march from Reading town centre to the stadium, with more than 1,000 expected to attend.

And Pompey fans are also encouraged to show solidarity and take part in the two-mile walk.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Alex Everson, from ‘Sell Before We Dai’, told The News: ‘We can't force him to sell, that's not how business works, but if a sale doesn’t happen in the next few months then it’s very likely going to be administration.

‘As supporters, all we can do is make our feelings known and apply pressure, almost embarrassing him to sell.

‘This is about saving Reading. We are in dire straits and are slipping into the abyss without any fight or resistance unless things change.

‘The club is spending £1.5m in ground rent every year, it has zero money, so operating in League Two is wholly unaffordable. They cannot afford anything at the club, bar the necessities.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

‘There has been no communication, everything is based on conjecture and rumours, yet the club is haemorrhaging cash. We owed the owner £90m according to the last accounts. That has now increased.

‘There is no way out unless the owner sells. He doesn’t care, he doesn’t want to be there anymore – and diehard Reading fans are slowly giving up.

‘Saturday will be the biggest protest since 1983, when the fans rose up against Robert Maxwell’s plans to merge Reading with Oxford United to make the Thames Valley Royals.

‘We’re hoping roughly 1,000 supporters will take part and it would be fantastic if Pompey fans joined us, showing football fans can unite.’

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Those wanting to take part in the ‘Sell Before We Dai’ march are advised to meet at the Blue Collar Corner bar in Reading town centre at 12pm on Saturday, for a 12.30pm start.

It is estimated they will arrive at the Madejski Stadium at 1.45pm, when speeches will take place in the club’s fan zone area.

As it stands, no protests are planned during the match involving Pompey, who are presently four points clear at the top of League One.