In-dire-straits The Royals changes home name


Reading FC naming rights Image: Reading FC

The English Football League (EFL) team Reading F.C. has dropped its stadium’s name and renamed it after a sponsor in a decision taken recently as the club faces a lot of financial heat.

The ‘BBC’ stated that ‘The Royals’ home will no longer be known as the Madejski Stadium, and instead has been rebranded as the Select Car Leasing Stadium for the next 10 years.

Reading Football Club is a football club based in Reading, Berkshire, England (UK). The team play in the Championship, the second tier of English football.

The 24,161-capacity Select Car Leasing Stadium is a football stadium located in Reading, Berkshire, England. It is the home of Reading Football Club, who plays in the English Football League (EFL) Championship. It also provides the finish for the Reading Half Marathon.

Fans are a divided house over the above development.

The ‘BBC’ further stated that the club said the agreement would help it achieve its long-term goals “at a time when financial accountability and self-sustaining revenue generation is more important than ever” in football.

The Championship club is presently under a transfer embargo and has lost £93.1m since the year 2018.

Select Car Leasing, which also sponsors the club’s shirts, is a car and van leasing firm based in Reading.

Since getting off the ground in the year 1998, the 24,161-person stadium has been named after the former Royals Chairman Sir John Madejski, after he oversaw the move from Elm Park.

The Chairman of Supporters’ Trust At Reading (STAR), Paula Martin, said the Trust was aware of the club’s poor financial health and it understood the reasoning, despite fans not being consulted about the name change beforehand.

She said, “From the people I have spoken to so far and what I’ve seen on social media, people understand why it’s happening, and will just carry on calling it the ‘Mad Stad’. There is a lot of love for Sir John Madejski for what he did for the club for all those years. If there is any resentment [among fans] for the naming, it is because his name is no longer on the stadium.”

The Supporters’ Trust at Reading, also known as STAR, is the official organization representing the interests of supporters of Reading Football Club. STAR is the successor to Reading Football Supporters’ Club (RFSC), which was established in 1930.

In Sir John’s honor, the East Stand will be renamed ‘The Sir John Madejski Stand’.

Sir John Madejski is an English businessman, with commercial interests spanning property, broadcast media, hotels, restaurants, publishing, and football. He was Chairman of Reading F.C. and had a key role to play in the growth of the club.

Stated one supporter, “I think its good news, lots of other stadium have had their names taken by sponsorship. We need the money.”

But one fan wrote on Twitter, “I think it’s a sorry position for football to be in where they have to commercialize everything possible just to stay viable.”

Many Premier League and EFL clubs have named their stadiums after sponsors, such as Arsenal F.C.’s 60,260-capacity Emirates Stadium in London, England, and Stoke City F.C.’s 30,089-capacity Bet365 Stadium in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England.

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