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Reading match called off after 20 minutes as fans storm pitch and launch tennis balls | Football | Sport

Reading’s home clash with Port Vale was suspended with almost 20 minutes on the clock after fans stormed the pitch in protest of the club’s owners. The players were swiftly taken back to the changing rooms as thousands made their way from the stands towards the tunnel area. The match was eventually abandoned after fans refused to leave the pitch.

Reading threatened their supporters with banning orders if they did not quickly return to their seats. The League One side tweeted: “We are fully aware of and understand our supporters’ frustrations, but we must reiterate to our supporters that entering or throwing items onto the pitch can put the fixture at risk of abandonment and can result in personal consequences including banning orders. Thank you for your support today.”

Reading fans threw tennis balls onto the pitch during early stages of the match, which was heavily disrupted. The Royals fans are unhappy with the way owner Dai Yongge has run the club since he took over in 2017. Reading have been deducted 16 points over the last two years due to repeated late payment of wages.

The supporters took their protest one step further when they stormed the pitch with banners. Reading pleaded their case with a further announcement, adding: “We appreciate supporters frustration. Please leave the field of play. The club will face serious sanctions if this does not take place.”

Ahead of the match, fan group Sell Before We Dai explained why they were planning to protest. They said: “We shouldn’t be doing this. We should be enjoying the game with friends and family. This is just the start Dai. We are coming for you. So do yourself a favour and sell.”

Reading sit 21st in the League One table and are at serious risk of being relegated this season. Former Royals defender Wayne Bridge is worried about the trajectory the club is heading.

“I think there have been mistakes made on and off the field at the club which have ultimately led to their big downfall,” the left-back told BetVictor. “When you’re on that downward spiral, it’s so hard to pick things up again,” Bridge said. “It’s horrible. When I spoke to the Reading fans, I got the impression that Reading’s situation is leaving them down in the dumps more often than not – football has that effect on people.

“For Reading now, I just hope that they can avoid relegation from League One, because if they do end up falling into League Two, it is a massive fall and becomes a real tough ask to make it back out. It can take a very long time to climb back up the divisions.”

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