Shinfield Rangers at Royals Open Day

William Manning, Nigel Adkins and Raymond Barclay in the trophy room at the MadStad
William Manning, Nigel Adkins and Raymond Barclay in the trophy room at the MadStad

I have to admit that I didn’t really expect Reading FC to hold their Open Day at the Madejski Stadium today – not  after all the hype we’ve been subject to this week about the storm.  And especially not after I woke to find my shed roof blown away, shattered on the ground, and a giant fallen oak branch embedded into the middle of the garden. However,  it was going to take more than gale force winds to stop me,  the Royals and over 2,000 loyal fans and grassroots coaches from enjoying the day.

For the Shinfield Rangers coaches, today was a great opportunity to observe and learn from the  professionals whilst the First Team trained.  We picked up ideas but, more importantly, it was gratifying and reassuring to see that much of what we do at the grassroots level is reflected in professional training.

The highlight of the day for me was manager Nigel Adkins who not only gave an interesting running commentary during the First Team training hour but also met up later with a few select coaches from the Academy Partner Clubs to hold a “15 minute” Question and Answer session. It was fantastic to see a manager show such devotion to the community of fans and grassroots football – so much so that our 15 minutes of fame turned into over an hour.  Nigel answered questions, talked passionately about grassroots and professional football as well as assisting analyst Lucy Rushton with a demonstration of the Prozone physical, technical and tactical system the Royals use to analyse the players and play after each match.

A great day out thanks to Nigel, Lucy, Josh and Shelley from the Academy Partner Club team, the First Team and coaches, and all the others who did a brilliant job. Man of the Match: Nigel Adkins.

Raymond Barclay