Home is where the heart is - September 2008

By Steven Woodgate

Home is certainly where the heart and that is where I met my first true love. That is a complete lie but in all seriousness, I met my first girlfriend at the Madejski Stadium and we went out for 18 months as it ended, in dramatic fashion as ever, we were beaten 2-1 by Wolves on our last home game in the 2004-05 season.

The point I am getting at is that love comes and goes, passions, preference, dedication only lasts an acknowledgeable lifetime. My love for Reading Football Clubs seems to be a romantic tale through the ages, and too many ‘fashion’ fans fall in love for a brief amount of time, they fall in love with the concept rather than reality. With reference to my first girlfriend, I will not name her, as she will probably end up in News of The World selling a pathetic story for ten grand, many fans have the same relationship with the club I had with her.

It was new and exciting but it was never going to last, but you just having a glimmer of hope for a quickie. So you occasionally turn up now and again for the temporary thrill.

Even in reference to our promotion-winning season too many jumped on the bandwagon and became ‘Reading fans’ for the simple reason that we were Premiership and it was convenient for them. These two-year supporters supply the funds and the irregular song to put into the clubs best interest but I want more from these fans as we are not at the highest peak at this moment in time. A two-year lust affair must be replaced with love in a marriage.

I could not personally state what a marriage can be like, in its truest form, but I can imagine there will be times of rejoice, of happiness, of disappointment, of transition, of embarrassment, and of course, of love.

Reading ‘til I Die should not be a typical, run of the mill song it should be fact.

Marriages are, supposedly, to last a lifetime and the team you support should follow suit. As I said Home is where the heart is and it has captured mine. Reading will forever be my bread and butter as it is too so many of you die hard Royals out there.

In my mere twenty years of living on this earth, I have experienced play-off final failures twice. I will never forgot the Tony Rougier own goal in extra time whilst sitting in the clouds at the Millennium Stadium.

I saw the remarkable Championship winning season, we all know the score on that.

I have seen, my personal, heroes come and leave. I have seen the club in the hands of poor managers and in some brilliant ones.

I lived through the transition from Elm Park to the Mad Stad. I even cried on the farewell day at Elm Park. I will always remember running over and being the first person to get John Madejski’s autograph.

Having a two-year affair, the people will not live through these times. They will only remember the good times and they were never remorse in the bad times.

I understand people grow up and it becomes more difficult to wear those hoops and financially it has got more difficult. I am lucky in that respect as I am still fairly young and enjoy watching all the games with a childish passion.

I love to hear about all the old stories about Reading and where we came from. I love to listen to those fans that have graciously been travelling and following the Royals up and down the country. I have not been able to go on as many away games as I would have liked too. I have a ridiculous amount of respect for those people who do.

These are my heroes, and my home is your home. Let us branch out and receive the people we desperately want. Come for the thrill and stay for a lifetime.

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