Reading Chronicle Apology
STAR is pleased that the Reading Chronicle has reacted quickly and positively to the outrage expressed by many of Reading FC’s fans at the article it featured in last week’s edition of the newspaper (see below) by publishing STAR’s letter, along with a letter from prominent local Labour Party politicians and the open letter from Sir John Madejski. Most importantly STAR is pleased that the Chronicle has issued an apology on the front page of this week’s edition for the offence caused by the article and an acknowledgement of the well-deserved reputation of Reading FC ‘s supporters and the exemplary record of the Football Club.
STAR hopes and believes that the damage caused by the article can be repaired and welcomes that the Reading Chronicle is undertaking an investigation into the events.
Barnsley Programme Notes
Each home game STAR contribute to the match day programme. For those who couldn't attend the match or did not buy a programme you can download and read the STAR Notes for the Barnsley match here.
Outrage Over Chronicle View of Reading Supporters
A sensationalist feature in the Reading Chronicle published on 20th March about crowd behaviour at RFC matches has angered both supporters and RFC alike. With a home page picture posed by a model representing a Reading supporter holding a wooden stake as a weapon (see right), the article has been condemned not only by club Chairman Sir John Madejski but has also led to the newspaper making an apology to Liverpool supporters in linking the causes of the Hillsborough disaster with hooliganism.
The club has now suspended its relationship with the publication in an open letter from the Chairman to Reading supporters. You can read his letter, published in Get Reading, here.
STAR have sent their own letter to the Chronicle Editor which you can read below:
STAR might be ‘disappointed’ by the misbehaviour of a few irresponsible people at football but we are incensed by the wildly exaggerated coverage in your normally responsible newspaper. The entire feature was designed to throw as much muck as possible, even to the extent of dressing up a model for your front page photo! Hooliganism does not ‘loom ever larger’ at the Madejski Stadium. In our last Premier League season over 450,000 people attended matches; according to Thames Valley Police reports fewer than a dozen arrests were made at home matches, of which only one was a home supporter. The Home Office praised our fans’ record. Thames Valley Police are reporting that “so far this season there have been no significant issues with crime and disorder at the Madejski Stadium”. The many families who attend the Stadium would simply not recognise from your article the welcoming place where they visit match after match.
Your readers of a nervous disposition should also take these facts into consideration. This season only 2 of the 18 matches played at the Madejski Stadium so far have required policing inside the Stadium. How many Friday or Saturday nights in Reading town centre do not need policing?
These days, our fans feel they can travel safely to any football club in the country on public transport wearing Reading colours and fans of all other clubs feel that they can travel safely to Reading FC.
Reading FC conducts an annual survey of 2500 supporters. The only spontaneous feedback in the survey that bears any relation to your article is a small concern about flares inside the ground, a relatively new development that appears to have been stamped on.
We do not dispute the incidents you mention took place but frankly some of your so-called ‘flashpoints’ really are scraping the barrel in terms of news value. We do dispute the impression you attempt to create without any proper context given to actual arrest numbers, history of disorder, other clubs’ fans’ behaviour and other activities that take place in this town. If the situation is as bad as you think why, on average over the period you describe, are 20,000 people coming to every home game? Why does Reading FC have one of the largest percentages of regular female attendees in the country? Why is Reading FC recognised widely as a great family football club?
Furthermore we wholeheartedly agree with the sentiments expressed by Reading FC in its open letter and we would not be in the least surprised if many Reading FC supporters ceased buying your newspaper as a result of this article.
We note and welcome your apology for you appearing to link hooliganism and the tragic events of Hillsborough, but we consider that it does not go far enough and believe it would be appropriate for you to have a total re-think and publish an apology to the thousands of Reading FC fans who have been hurt and offended by the implication in your article that hooliganism is rife.
The article appears so sensational that reaction among supporters forums and blogs have included a particularly well written tongue-in-cheek response from the Supporters Not Customers website which you can read here.
Notes from February RFC Senior Management Meeting with STAR
The latest management meeting involving RFC and STAR took place at the Mad Stad on 26th February. Topics discussed included late fixture changes, safe standing and new seasons kit amongst others.
You can download a summary here.
If you have any questions or concerns that you would like raised at the next Management meeting please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org
STAR Predictor Competition - Positions at 4th March
Have you taken part in the STAR 2013-14 Predictor League?
As of 4th March Richard Ruffle (899 points) remains in top position with new contenders Fiona Butler (873) and Roger Titford (872) taking the next two places. Other competitors can check their position by downloading a copy here.
The STAR Predictor is a competition to see who can predict the highest number of winning teams across the season drawn from 17 groups. Part of the entry fee goes towards RFC Academy for use in a specific project they would not otherwise be able to afford and the remainder goes in prize money.
Reading FC Welcomes Marlow FC Youth Inclusive Football Team
On Saturday 8th February, children from the Marlow FC Youth inclusive Team were invited by the Reading FC Community Trust to the Sheffield Wednesday game. STAR was asked to help host the children and parents.
The children of various disabilities, were so excited to see a “real football match”. None of them had been to the stadium before so this was something really special for them. Prior to the match the children and coaches from Marlow had their photo taken. At 2:55pm the children lined up to form the guard of honour for the players as they came out on to the pitch, a very proud moment for the children and parents. The children had a memorable afternoon and one they will talk about for a very long time. The Community Trust visits them on a semi regular basis but also offers support for their coaches as well.
Shown are the Marlow team and rear far right is Daniel Rook, Disability Officer from the Community Trust and rear left (with cap) is Dave Strawn from STAR.
Without Fans There Is No Football - ePetition on Football Governance
Some time ago the Department for Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee following submissions from various groups (including STAR) asked the FA and Football League to address concerns about the governance of our national game. Nothing substantial has happened subsequently and we have since seen a series of issues and questionable decisions occurring at a number of football clubs (including Hull City, Cardiff City, Leeds United, Coventry City etc).
Football supporters throughout the country are concerned that that football is being run poorly and not in the interest of supporters. STAR should like to draw you attention to an epetition at http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/59884 seeking to get the plight of Coventry City investigated.
Football Aid 2014 – Play at the Madejski Stadium!
How would you like to Live Your Dream of running out at the Madejski alongside a Reading Legend before taking part in a 90 minutes match on the hallowed turf? Well now's your chance as Reading FC have once again joined forces with Football Aid to give fans the opportunity to play at the Madejski in 2014 and raise valuable funds for charity at the same time. For full details visit www.footballaid.com
Photo above is from a previous years event.
Nostalgia Evening Celebrates RFC Cup Tie With Arsenal
Wednesday 5th February was the 42nd anniversary of Reading’s epic FA Cup tie with Arsenal in 1972. To celebrate a memorable Cup run STAR organised a Nostalgia Evening at the Town Hall. After a look back at Reading’s progress to the 4th Round with Roger Titford, ITV’s Big Match highlights of the Arsenal game were shown – for the first time since 1972! In the audience – and on the platform afterwards to take questions – were three players from the match, pictured below from left to right: John Harley, Will Dixon and Gordon Cumming with Roger Titford of STAR.
Future Investment in Reading FC
10th January 2014
STAR is concerned to see a good outcome from the current negotiations about investment in Reading FC. The Football Club is keeping STAR informed in general terms of progress.
STAR takes from its dialogue with the Football Club three messages:
- there is a lot going on behind the scenes;
- there are hopes of a positive outcome soon and;
- that we supporters should continue to be patient.
As other information fits with this picture we are content, for the time being, to put our trust in this process, as indicated in our earlier statement in December.
Click on the title to read more about these other football news items:
Luton Town give fans right to veto any future club image change
Loosing Touch with Younger Fans
One authors view of how clubs in this country and failing younger fans
Robin Friday: The greatest player you never saw was football's most marvellous misfit
Joe Mewis looks back on the life of the infamous Reading FC legend
Robert Maxwell's phantom club, the Thames Valley Royals
The Team That Never Was - a look again at the attempted merger of Oxford Utd and RFC in 1983 by BBC South