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Reading protest group planning final-whistle pitch invasion

Amid the growing concerns surrounding Reading Football Club under their current owner, Dai Yongge, Reading protest group, ‘Sell Before We Dai‘, are encouraging everyone connected with the club to join them in a pitch invasion following the full-time whistle when the Royals play Port Vale this afternoon.

Yongge completed his takeover of the club in May 2017 and the then Championship side have been in turmoil ever since. The Royals now find themselves in a heap of financial trouble and are languishing towards the bottom of England's third tier.

SBWD planning pitch invasion against Port Vale

Reading Football Club's stadium
The Reading FC protest group strongly oppose owner Dai Yongge / Photo by IconSport

Who are ‘Sell Before We Dai'?

Sell Before We Dai, or SBWD for short, is a fan-led protest group with the objective of pressuring the current owner, Dai Yongge, to sell the Royals before the businessman does any more damage to the club.

They make it clear in all of their protests that their issues are solely with Yongge and his CEO Dayong Pang, not the players, coaches or any other staff at the club for that matter.

Why are they protesting?

Under the ownership of Yongge, Reading have failed to adhere to EFL regulations regarding financial stability on multiple occasions. A lack of financial health has seen the club fail to pay the wages of players and staff on time, as well as selling players both against their will and without informing the manager beforehand.

In addition to infuriating the fanbase, these actions have also led to several severe punishments for Reading, including multiple points deductions.

In short, the club, which made it all the way to the Championship play-off final at the time of Yongge's takeover, has been poorly run ever since and now find themselves occupying 21st place in League One.

What have SBWD said about the protest?

The protest group have been to emphasise that they, and the rest of the Reading faithful, will be supporting their side with unwavering passion throughout the 90 minutes when the Royals host Port Vale this afternoon.

Speaking via X, the group said: “It has been an emotional week to be a Reading fan. One of the founding principles of SBWD is that we would never tell people how not to protest – but this is our plan for tomorrow. Back the team from the first whistle, on the pitch at the final whistle.”

Before also appealing to players and staff of the club to join them, saying: “To our players and manager, we say this: your coaches and catering have been cut, your teammates are being sold against their will, but we see your form and we see your fight. We’re with you during the game. Join us after the game.”

History repeating itself

Remarkably, this is not the first time fans of Reading have planned to storm the pitch after a match with Port Vale.

26 years ago, after losing at home to the same opposition, fans invaded the pitch to make their opinions known – and four days later, got their wish as then manager, Terry Bullivant was sacked by Sir John Madejski, owner of Reading at the time.

SBWD have admitted they do not believe Yongge, and CEO Pang, will listen in the same way Madejski did all those years ago, but have insisted that this protest “signifies the start of a new chapter – of more militant, hostile action against our ownership.”

Harry Dowsett

Freelance football writer with experience writing for multiple digital platforms, such as GIVEMESPORT. Recently graduated from Portsmouth University with a media studies degree - completing a dissertation on the evolution of sports journalism in the process. He has a love for Arsenal Football Club and a passion for football as a whole.

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