Madejski Stadium, Behind East Stand

Changes to EFL Trophy

The EFL Trophy – STAR’S Position

The STAR Board has taken the view that the changes made to this competition for 2016-17,
now called the Checkatrade Trophy, are mis-conceived and should not be supported. Many
other supporters’ trusts, other supporters’ organisations and individual supporters are of a
similar view and attendances at the matches played so far have been startlingly low.
As Reading are putting out an age-limited side we have not treated these fixtures as first
team games and have not provided an away travel service, as is our general policy. On 9th
November Reading have their first home match in the competition against Yeovil. Again we
will not be treating this as a first team match and will not be opening STAR Base in the
evening.
In our very recent survey 50% of members supported STAR’s position, 36% opposed it and
14% didn’t know or didn’t care. However it is likely Reading will progress out of the group
stage into the knock-out phase and there will probably be more supporter interest in the
games. The survey indicates that the proportion of members (and non-members) endorsing
us continuing our stance should Reading continue in the competition falls to 35%.
The Reading FC management have said to us quite directly that they view participation in
the competition as of great benefit to younger, non-first team players as it gives the
experience of playing against League first teams and before a larger crowd than they would
normally experience. The club’s management has asked us to encourage supporters to
attend the match and support the team.
We understand this is a benefit to the club and we respect its view; nevertheless we believe
it is more important for us to demonstrate to the game’s authorities our opposition (as STAR
and as part of the network of supporter organisations) to the concept of mixing lower league
clubs with age-limited / B / nursery sides.
Going forward, we’re faced with three difficult and imperfect choices:
– STAR maintains its stance of non-support knowing the value that the football club places
on the competition and that it is likely that a majority proportion of the supporters would
become interested in the competition. To do so we could be accused of intransigence.
– STAR abandons its stance of non-support for the Yeovil game and also its credibility and
solidarity with the supporters’ movement in general. To do so we could be accused of
infidelity to our principles.
– STAR makes its point of opposition with regard to the Yeovil fixture, knowing that the point
about this one year experiment has been well made by others too, and then accept the
views of the club and of interested supporters, if the club should progress. To do so we could
be accused of inconsistency.
We believe that supporters should make up their own minds on what value they put on each
of these arguments, whether to support our young players or to hold back in support of a
larger idea endorsed by fan groups across the country. If we progress in the tournament
STAR will assess on a game by game basis what support we will give in terms of publicity
and away travel – and stand ready to be called inconsistent in what is an impossible
situation.

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