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Reading are firmly ensconced in the middle of the Premier League table, but apparently their recent inconsistent form has prompted enough guilt for the players to decide to pay 75% of the coach fare for 350 of their fans to travel to the next away game.
Reading captain Graeme Murty told BBC Sport: “We know that at the moment we are massively inconsistent. It’s not easy to justify spending so much money to watch us perform and this is giving something back to the fans.”
Steve Coppell’s side have endured a difficult beginning to their second season in the top flight and following their 3-1 defeat at Fulham on Saturday are only five points clear of the relegation zone.
“I would be lying if I said that the poor start didn’t enter certain people’s thinking,” said Murty, who is in his 10th season at the Berkshire club.
“It can’t be good going to places like Fratton Park and coming out after a 7-4 loss wearing a Reading shirt. But more than that there has been a growing realisation among the players of how expensive it is, especially for parents who bring their kids to a game.”
A nice touch, even if £5,000 between twenty-odd blokes making more than that each week isn’t a lot of cash. Still, it sure beats the stinginess of a Gareth Southgate, for example, and is good PR for the Premier League a week after the Sport Minister’s scathing comments about the obscene wages in football.
One also wonders what this means for the bigger disappointments this year such as Wigan or Spurs — perhaps they should be paying their fans to go to games. Or maybe they could do them an even bigger favour and win a match.