Reading v Port Vale abandoned after pitch invasion protest

Reading fans invade the pitch
Reading fans invade the pitch

Reading’s League One match against Port Vale was abandoned after hundreds of home fans invaded the pitch in protest against Chinese owner Dai Yongge.

Play was stopped in the 16th minute despite Reading urging supporters to leave the pitch.


And the game was called off by referee Ross Joyce when they refused.

“We want to play football matches, but we also understand people’s frustrations,” Reading manager Ruben Selles told BBC Radio Berkshire.

“They made their point together about what they want. It is their club for life and they find ways to express their point.

“From my point of view, I would prefer to play that game, and win that game for them but I also understand what they did.”

Reading boss Ruben Selles
Reading boss Ruben Selles said “we understand people’s frustration”

‘This is just the start’ say fans group

Sell Before We Dai, a fan-led group urging 55-year-old Yongge, Reading’s majority shareholder since May 2017, to sell the club said that the action was “just the start”.

“We shouldn’t be doing this,” the group posted on X. “We should be enjoying the game with friends and family. This is just the start Dai. We are coming for you. So do yourself a favour and sell.”

Play was initially held up in the third minute when supporters threw tennis balls on to the pitch.

After the pitch invasion, Joyce took the players into the dressing rooms, while the supporters remained, with some letting off blue flares.

Fans chanted anti-Dai slogans and unveiled a banner in the centre circle that read “Football has an ownership problem”.

After approaching the Vale fans, some of whom applauded, most of the Reading supporters started to head back to the stands. But many returned and staged a sit-in in the centre circle.

“We must reiterate to our supporters that entering or throwing items onto the pitch can put the fixture at risk of abandonment and can result in personal consequences including banning orders,” Reading wrote on X at half-time.

“We appreciate supporters’ frustrations. The club will face serious sanctions if this does not take place.”

EFL will ‘discuss the implications’

“Every effort was made to restart the game,” said an EFL spokesperson. “But it became increasingly obvious that this would not be possible. We will now discuss the implications of this afternoon’s events with the clubs.”

The fixture is likely to be restaged later in the season on a midweek date – but Selles warns that all such talk right now is pure speculation until the EFL have convened a panel to discuss the afternoon’s events.

“The EFL just cancelled the game,” said Selles. “They don’t communicate anything right now. For now there is no direct conclusion. There is going to be a panel of experts. Hopefully there will be a replay. We will be informed, people in the club and our lawyers will know more about it.

“I am hoping to play that game and I would like to have a full house supporting us.”

Last month fans protested at the Houses of Parliament against Dai following sanctions imposed by the EFL, including a transfer embargo over an unpaid tax bill.

Reading have suffered a series of deductions totalling 16 points since November 2021, including four in August.

They are fourth from bottom of the table, three points from safety.

Bolton Wanderers’ League One game against Cheltenham Town was called off earlier on Saturday because of a medical emergency in the stadium.


Formation 4-1-4-1






  • 1Button
  • 17Yiadom
  • 24Bindon
  • 32Abbey
  • 20Dorsett
  • 36Craig
  • 11Azeez
  • 29Wing
  • 7Knibbs
  • 12Mukairu
  • 10Smith


  • 2Mola
  • 5McIntyre
  • 8Savage
  • 15Ehibhatiomhan
  • 22Castro Pereira
  • 27Mbengue
  • 42Vickers

Port Vale

Formation 3-4-2-1






  • 1Ripley
  • 6Smith
  • 16Lowe
  • 17Iacovitti
  • 19Massey
  • 11Devine
  • 20Weir
  • 15Grant
  • 29Wilson
  • 10Chislett
  • 12Ikpeazu


  • 2Cass
  • 4Sang
  • 9Loft
  • 13Leutwiler
  • 24Walters
  • 25Dipepa
  • 30Lomax

Referee:Ross Joyce

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