Where have the hardcore gone? Culture loss.

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bigshaka'away'
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Where have the hardcore gone? Culture loss.

by bigshaka'away' » 03 Sep 2018 12:14

Where have the hardcore gone from Y26 and Y25?

I was shocked against Wednesday by the large empty spaces up there, a whole generation seem to have gone - traditional Reading fans.

I didn't see any of the likes of Gary or the Prince of Wales lot there, lots of faces simply missing. My generation (mid to late 30s) were not at the match. I know they have not joined the kids behind the goal, so what has happened?

It was depressing being there against Wednesday - not just for the match - but it felt like the heart and soul had gone from the stands.

I sung, got a few going, but traditionally over the years others have started chants etc. Those people were not there.

I can't go every week (I work on Saturdays), but have been watching Reading in the South Bank and Y25-26 since Mark McScum's days. The culture of the terrace has gone, the people who made it have gone. What has happened?

Delighted to see some self deprecating humour remains (about Wednesday's ability to 'only score two') - humour has always been a core part of being a Reading fan. Let's face it, it isn't for glory.

But the loss of these fans has destroyed what atmosphere we still had at the club.

Forget what happens on the pitch - we have been bad before ,we will be good again at some point - the real worry is in the stands.

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Re: Where have the hardcore gone? Culture loss.

by Tony Le Mesmer » 03 Sep 2018 12:25

Much of the longer standing supporters are slowly drifting away, or at least to a lot fewer games. Me included.

Everything about the club has changed and its just not the same anymore. Results will return, but the old days will not. Attending football at this level offers very little enjoyment to those brought up at Elm Park.

The exception seems to be those who bring their kids to the games.

If this Prince of Wales Gary you refer to above is who i think you mean, hes no longer with us sadly.

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Re: Where have the hardcore gone? Culture loss.

by Old Man Andrews » 03 Sep 2018 12:29

They have dispersed to other areas of the ground from what I can gather. I think a lot moved to Club 1871 initially but gradually are moving back into the East as that project has been a total failure sadly.

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Re: Where have the hardcore gone? Culture loss.

by Stranded » 03 Sep 2018 12:51

Some will have moved, some will simply have other things to do on a Saturday especially those in their 30s who are now likely to be married/in long term relationships and/or with kids.

As a result, people will simply not be able to make it 23 times a year and it isn't cheap. Going to football is meant to be fun and if it isn't and it's costing you 60 quid a time you may well think twice.

Happens all the time but when we are doing well, it is not noticed as someone else takes their seat but when we are in a spell of underperformance as we are now, as a regular stops coming as often, the seat remains empty.

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Re: Where have the hardcore gone? Culture loss.

by bigshaka'away' » 03 Sep 2018 12:52

Sorry to hear about Gary - I have moved away from Caversham, so not been in there for years.

I may be wrong but I thought those behind the goals were younger people - rather than the older fans.

I suspect the actions of the stewards over the last 10 years have led to this. Constantly being told to sit down in these areas (I know this has changed recently), being filmed by over excited policemen at the front and having your picture taken for little more than standing up etc etc.

Sometimes this can create a bunker mentality, which can improve the sense of community of those being - often unfairly targeted. However I think these polices in a big to make the club 'kid and family friendly' backfired, and just left people feeling unwanted, uncared for, and led to a loss of connection with the club. Simply if we are treated like this, why bother? Cases of violence/racism etc, rare enough at Reading, should rightly be targeted by for too long a very heavy handed approach was taken to the type of fans the club should have embraced. This, I guess, is the result.

Apathy, and a loss of connection.


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Re: Where have the hardcore gone? Culture loss.

by bigshaka'away' » 03 Sep 2018 12:59

Stranded wrote:Some will have moved, some will simply have other things to do on a Saturday especially those in their 30s who are now likely to be married/in long term relationships and/or with kids.

As a result, people will simply not be able to make it 23 times a year and it isn't cheap. Going to football is meant to be fun and if it isn't and it's costing you 60 quid a time you may well think twice.

Happens all the time but when we are doing well, it is not noticed as someone else takes their seat but when we are in a spell of underperformance as we are now, as a regular stops coming as often, the seat remains empty.



Agree with much of that. However the sheer number, and the type of fan that has gone, seems odd. Also I would suggest that money is less of an issue. Tickets at Reading are very cheap compared to other clubs, and the area and fans are generally wealthier than fans of other clubs. 23 quid for ticket is great. It one of the few things I think are good about the club at the moment.

Furthermore more do indeed turn up when we play well, but the type of fans I'm talking about would turn up regardless. It's not as if we have seen years of wonderful football.

For instance I remember going to the mad stad against (i think) Scunthorpe down in the third tier with 7000 odd people there - but those who were there then, are not going now. I remember the east stand going mad when we equalised (was it 2-2?) and going nuts at Guy Ipoa (or something like that) when he goaded us when he scored. The football back then was truly shocking, worse than what is offered now. But the type of fans I am talking about still went then. The glory hunters less so.

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Re: Where have the hardcore gone? Culture loss.

by Maguire » 03 Sep 2018 13:06

I rarely go these days. It's not the money. It's not even necessarily having a baby (although that is a factor). It's more the total lack of enjoyment I experienced for the last two seasons I had a Season Ticket.

Add in the detachment between the club and the town (I honestly hand on heart don't know who owns RFC beyond "the Chinese") and there's not much to tempt me back.

I also think - and some people won't agree with this - that you kind of grow out of football eventually. I see teenagers at away days on their big day out singing really shit songs and I think "good luck to them but nah, I'm done with all that". Few beers with my mates, quick blast of Come On You Royals and that'll do.

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Re: Where have the hardcore gone? Culture loss.

by bobby1413 » 03 Sep 2018 13:07

It was one of the worst times I can remember in Y25/Y26 on Saturday. The amount of empty seats and spaces was shocking. You're right too, even when things are sh1t, there's always some drunk lout up there that's starting songs off and at least creating some noise. Especially against Sheffield Wednesday who travel well and are vocal.

Saturday was turgid, those types of atmosphere's are usually for cold Tuesday nights against Rotherham or Barnsley where there's 300 away fans and not a lot of energy.

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Re: Where have the hardcore gone? Culture loss.

by bobby1413 » 03 Sep 2018 13:10

bigshaka'away' wrote:I suspect the actions of the stewards over the last 10 years have led to this. Constantly being told to sit down in these areas (I know this has changed recently), being filmed by over excited policemen at the front and having your picture taken for little more than standing up etc etc.


The stewards are relaxed these days, and only on a couple of periods have had a real bee in their bonnet about sitting down... I think it was last season or the one before where for about 2-3 games they were just stood by rows constantly arguing and harassing fans for standing.

The Police you mention are evidence gatherers and they are rarely seen at home games, usually it's play off semi finals, or big games like against Bradford in the cup. If they are there, it's warranted and usually are filming away fans or home fans who are standing up constantly giving the finger, or making "cut throat" gestures.


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Re: Where have the hardcore gone? Culture loss.

by bigshaka'away' » 03 Sep 2018 13:13

Maguire wrote:I rarely go these days. It's not the money. It's not even necessarily having a baby (although that is a factor). It's more the total lack of enjoyment I experienced for the last two seasons I had a Season Ticket.

Add in the detachment between the club and the town (I honestly hand on heart don't know who owns RFC beyond "the Chinese") and there's not much to tempt me back.

I also think - and some people won't agree with this - that you kind of grow out of football eventually. I see teenagers at away days on their big day out singing really shit songs and I think "good luck to them but nah, I'm done with all that". Few beers with my mates, quick blast of Come On You Royals and that'll do.



Nobody bloody sings come on you Royals anymore...almost like they don't know it.

As for growing out of it - yeah I kind of get that. But it seems nobody has replaced the ones who feel that way. I feel the detachment issue is the major one. Certainly is for me. Sell the ground to the rugby, build a better one in town. It would be (albeit totally unrealistic) start.

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Re: Where have the hardcore gone? Culture loss.

by Stranded » 03 Sep 2018 13:17

bigshaka'away' wrote:
Stranded wrote:Some will have moved, some will simply have other things to do on a Saturday especially those in their 30s who are now likely to be married/in long term relationships and/or with kids.

As a result, people will simply not be able to make it 23 times a year and it isn't cheap. Going to football is meant to be fun and if it isn't and it's costing you 60 quid a time you may well think twice.

Happens all the time but when we are doing well, it is not noticed as someone else takes their seat but when we are in a spell of underperformance as we are now, as a regular stops coming as often, the seat remains empty.



Agree with much of that. However the sheer number, and the type of fan that has gone, seems odd. Also I would suggest that money is less of an issue. Tickets at Reading are very cheap compared to other clubs, and the area and fans are generally wealthier than fans of other clubs. 23 quid for ticket is great. It one of the few things I think are good about the club at the moment.

Furthermore more do indeed turn up when we play well, but the type of fans I'm talking about would turn up regardless. It's not as if we have seen years of wonderful football.

For instance I remember going to the mad stad against (i think) Scunthorpe down in the third tier with 7000 odd people there - but those who were there then, are not going now. I remember the east stand going mad when we equalised (was it 2-2?) and going nuts at Guy Ipoa (or something like that) when he goaded us when he scored. The football back then was truly shocking, worse than what is offered now. But the type of fans I am talking about still went then. The glory hunters less so.


Yep but I think it is a perfect storm. A lot of people who hit the age you mention now (30s), will really only have supported Reading throughout their most successful time - throughout their teens/20s we have mainly be aiming for play-offs/titles/in the PL. Not saying they are glory supporters but they have been lucky that the time they are going to be more active fans, we have been superb.

It just isn't fun at the moment and will be testing the most hardcore of fans. Even with the play-off season we have a win % of just 35% since we were last relegated. Take that blip out and over the past 4 years (up to last) we have a 26% win rate across those, it is hardly surprising that going to the footy has dropped down a lot of people's to do list.

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Re: Where have the hardcore gone? Culture loss.

by El Diablo » 03 Sep 2018 13:39

Most of the long timers at the top of Y26 are pretty much all on Holiday at the mo....families/kids/etc etc.....

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Re: Where have the hardcore gone? Culture loss.

by Snowflake Royal » 03 Sep 2018 13:49

As stranded said, people grow up and priorties change. And watching Reading hasn't been much fun for a long time.

The South stand lot are a full range of ages. Plenty of us in the 30+ range.


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Re: Where have the hardcore gone? Culture loss.

by Sebastian the Red » 03 Sep 2018 13:49

Maguire wrote:I rarely go these days. It's not the money. It's not even necessarily having a baby (although that is a factor). It's more the total lack of enjoyment I experienced for the last two seasons I had a Season Ticket.

Add in the detachment between the club and the town (I honestly hand on heart don't know who owns RFC beyond "the Chinese") and there's not much to tempt me back.

I also think - and some people won't agree with this - that you kind of grow out of football eventually. I see teenagers at away days on their big day out singing really shit songs and I think "good luck to them but nah, I'm done with all that". Few beers with my mates, quick blast of Come On You Royals and that'll do.


As much as my schtick on here has often been that football is beneath me, I hate the fans etc etc, the truth is exactly what Mags has posted above. Just apathy. The Saturday afternoon result used to impact my mood for the whole weekend, a good result could sometimes even keep me buzzing into the week, but I realised in my last couple of years as a STH that, in truth, it had no impact on me whatsoever any more. It was just something I did 20ish times a season, and I wasn't getting any kind of emotional response from football at all, neither positive, nor negative.

Having a couple of kids has definitely had an impact as well, and my life has also moved away from Berkshire to a significant extent. I moved near to Woking earlier this year and caught a Woking game toward the tail end of last season, and enjoyed it very much. I'll always follow Reading's results, they will always be "my" team - but they're not a part of my life any more (that is, apart from all the divs on AE),

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Re: Where have the hardcore gone? Culture loss.

by under the tin » 03 Sep 2018 13:51

Maguire wrote:I rarely go these days. It's not the money. It's not even necessarily having a baby (although that is a factor). It's more the total lack of enjoyment I experienced for the last two seasons I had a Season Ticket.

Add in the detachment between the club and the town (I honestly hand on heart don't know who owns RFC beyond "the Chinese") and there's not much to tempt me back.

I also think - and some people won't agree with this - that you kind of grow out of football eventually. I see teenagers at away days on their big day out singing really shit songs and I think "good luck to them but nah, I'm done with all that". Few beers with my mates, quick blast of Come On You Royals and that'll do.


Agreed on every word.
Football has changed in my lifetime, and I fell out of love with the remodelled product.

Rose tinted they may be, but my memories of youth following RFC stay with me until today.
Watching about 45 drunken supporters tumble out of a BRS rental lorry when the roller door was opened away at Port Vale,
Walking down from the turnstiles towards the South bank and realising that it was full of Portsmouth fans...ooo err
Falling into a drunken sleep on a train back from London, and waking up in Swansea.
Pro footballers who you could well bump into in a local pub.
The hypnotic cocktail of the smell of Burger onions and piss.
The game back then was focused around passion, but nowadays, it's a homogenised, PC, environmentally friendly, over analysed show.

Bang average players now command silly salaries and transfer fees. This unsustainable bubble will eventually burst, and our national sport will be forever changed, and not for the better. The really big franchises couldn't care less about the sport, and the battle is now on for all the other clubs to try and join them before the drawbridge is raised permanently.

I will be a RFC supporter until I die. Now I just refuse to put any of my money into the pro game. Sod it.

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Re: Where have the hardcore gone? Culture loss.

by bigshaka'away' » 03 Sep 2018 13:54

Stranded wrote:
bigshaka'away' wrote:
Stranded wrote:Some will have moved, some will simply have other things to do on a Saturday especially those in their 30s who are now likely to be married/in long term relationships and/or with kids.

As a result, people will simply not be able to make it 23 times a year and it isn't cheap. Going to football is meant to be fun and if it isn't and it's costing you 60 quid a time you may well think twice.

Happens all the time but when we are doing well, it is not noticed as someone else takes their seat but when we are in a spell of underperformance as we are now, as a regular stops coming as often, the seat remains empty.



Agree with much of that. However the sheer number, and the type of fan that has gone, seems odd. Also I would suggest that money is less of an issue. Tickets at Reading are very cheap compared to other clubs, and the area and fans are generally wealthier than fans of other clubs. 23 quid for ticket is great. It one of the few things I think are good about the club at the moment.

Furthermore more do indeed turn up when we play well, but the type of fans I'm talking about would turn up regardless. It's not as if we have seen years of wonderful football.

For instance I remember going to the mad stad against (i think) Scunthorpe down in the third tier with 7000 odd people there - but those who were there then, are not going now. I remember the east stand going mad when we equalised (was it 2-2?) and going nuts at Guy Ipoa (or something like that) when he goaded us when he scored. The football back then was truly shocking, worse than what is offered now. But the type of fans I am talking about still went then. The glory hunters less so.


Yep but I think it is a perfect storm. A lot of people who hit the age you mention now (30s), will really only have supported Reading throughout their most successful time - throughout their teens/20s we have mainly be aiming for play-offs/titles/in the PL. Not saying they are glory supporters but they have been lucky that the time they are going to be more active fans, we have been superb.

It just isn't fun at the moment and will be testing the most hardcore of fans. Even with the play-off season we have a win % of just 35% since we were last relegated. Take that blip out and over the past 4 years (up to last) we have a 26% win rate across those, it is hardly surprising that going to the footy has dropped down a lot of people's to do list.


True enough...although I am 36 so if you have been supporting them since 1993, then there has also been some real dross years of relegation down to the third tier. Also, of course, the most successful period in the clubs history. Your explanation (in my view) is correct for the loss of fans turning up in games in general over the last two years - but doesn't really explain why the hardcore have stopped going. Bad football is not usually enough to put them off - other things to make it fun would balance it off. Perhaps those other things just don't happen anymore.

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Re: Where have the hardcore gone? Culture loss.

by 3points » 03 Sep 2018 13:56

All the kids / teenagers who should be coming through to replace the "hardcore" are satiated by their daily fix of Sky Sports football and FIFA19.

Our hardcore are now the retirees sat in the West Stand who turn up when it's nice and sunny

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Re: Where have the hardcore gone? Culture loss.

by Elm Park Kid » 03 Sep 2018 14:03

I only became a regular attendee at the Mad Stad in my early 20s. Started going to odd match when we were in the PL under Coppell; was a bit more regular in the first couple of seasons in the Championship and became a season ticket holder for McDermott's first full season. So, to be fair my experience isn't that long.

Those McDermott seasons were amazing for me - I loved every minute of it. Large group of friends going to the pub before games, bus'ing it up, enjoying the atmosphere of a big crowd happy with results. I even managed to convince a friend who was very much not a Reading fan to get a season ticket just so he could join me for the 'craic'. Even that PL season was great: although I quickly came to realise that having fewer homes games at 3pm on a Saturday was a bit of a downer. Still, the away days were fun an there seemed to be a great feeling among the fans.

Since McDermott things went down hill in every way. I know that part of that is just the bad results and manager turnover, and that a 'real' fan sticks it out and backs the team regardless. But i'll be honest - coming to Reading stopped being fun. The group of lads going to games got smaller - it became more common for people to drive and meet at the stadium. Long gone where the days where we would start at midday and end at midnight - now we would grab a pint in the Jazz Cafe at half-time and that was it. People just seemed more and more to be going through the motions. Obviously there were the 'good-times' - the cup run under Clarke for one. But they were few and far between.

When we fired McDermott the second time I decided enough was enough; it was like a natural end to my time as a season ticket holder - starting with Brian and ending with him. So i missed the Jaap Stam 'glory days' - but I tell you now, every game I did go to watch under stam was the worst match experience I ever had. Even the game we won were absolutely dreadful in terms of football and atmosphere. The last league game I went to was Burton Albion at home . . . . .. enough said.

Like i said, i'm not sure my experience is a fair reflection on anything that has happened at the club. I had a good time when I was younger, all my mates were up for a day's drinking and Reading were winning games. I had a bad time as I got older, they came out less and we were losing games. I still think what happened to McDermott was a travesty and has removed any respect I had for the club - but then maybe if we'd scored that penalty rather than miss and were now in the PL it would all be forgotten. Football fans are pretty fickle - and so am I . . .

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Re: Where have the hardcore gone? Culture loss.

by Stranded » 03 Sep 2018 14:08

bigshaka'away' wrote:
True enough...although I am 36 so if you have been supporting them since 1993, then there has also been some real dross years of relegation down to the third tier. Also, of course, the most successful period in the clubs history. Your explanation (in my view) is correct for the loss of fans turning up in games in general over the last two years - but doesn't really explain why the hardcore have stopped going. Bad football is not usually enough to put them off - other things to make it fun would balance it off. Perhaps those other things just don't happen anymore.


Have we had a continued period of shite since we moved? Certainly not this prolonged, we've had bad seasons but generally they have either followed or been followed by a good season or two.

When we were back at EP, being crap didn't play into the day as the ground was central, you could meet mates in the Spread, Victory, Rendezvous, Pond, Albion etc have a beer or 3 walk to the ground in 10/15 mins and be back in the pub by 5pm for the final scores.

The game was just one part of your day, even for the hardcore - I think most on this forum would have considered themselves hardcore at some point i.e. not missing a home game and going away more often that not.

Now, the match is an effort. Where do you meet? The town centre and have to time getting the bus to either avoid queues or get there at the right time. Otherwise someone has to drive etc. You have to really really want to go. Biggest problem (and this is not just for us) is that where do the new "hardcore" go, the day is the key part of what makes you hardcore, the routine and meeting mates in the same pub - much harder to do now. Add in the crap we have been served up over the past 5 years and the fact that Reading is a very transient town with fans/families who support virtually any club in the UK and you have your loss of culture.

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Re: Where have the hardcore gone? Culture loss.

by Dr_Hfuhruhurr » 03 Sep 2018 14:25

Sebastian the Red wrote:
Maguire wrote:I rarely go these days. It's not the money. It's not even necessarily having a baby (although that is a factor). It's more the total lack of enjoyment I experienced for the last two seasons I had a Season Ticket.

Add in the detachment between the club and the town (I honestly hand on heart don't know who owns RFC beyond "the Chinese") and there's not much to tempt me back.

I also think - and some people won't agree with this - that you kind of grow out of football eventually. I see teenagers at away days on their big day out singing really shit songs and I think "good luck to them but nah, I'm done with all that". Few beers with my mates, quick blast of Come On You Royals and that'll do.


As much as my schtick on here has often been that football is beneath me, I hate the fans etc etc, the truth is exactly what Mags has posted above. Just apathy. The Saturday afternoon result used to impact my mood for the whole weekend, a good result could sometimes even keep me buzzing into the week, but I realised in my last couple of years as a STH that, in truth, it had no impact on me whatsoever any more. It was just something I did 20ish times a season, and I wasn't getting any kind of emotional response from football at all, neither positive, nor negative.

Having a couple of kids has definitely had an impact as well, and my life has also moved away from Berkshire to a significant extent. I moved near to Woking earlier this year and caught a Woking game toward the tail end of last season, and enjoyed it very much. I'll always follow Reading's results, they will always be "my" team - but they're not a part of my life any more (that is, apart from all the divs on AE),


Agree with both of these.
The attachment with the club disappeared with McDermott's sacking and Madejski preferring to think more about retirement than football. Its all been downhill since then.
But its also true that this period just coincided with me just getting too old to commit myself to this anymore. I might do the odd game here and there (for old times sake and to keep up with what the players actually look like) if I didnt think Id be watching 11 players stealing a living, but I cant and dont want to do it every weekend.
I know somebody who went to the Watford game and her feedback was 'I literally cannot see anything positive'. Why would I want to do that regularly?

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