Lib Dem candidates issue rallying cry to save Reading FC

23 Mar 2024

Henry Wright, Lib Dem candidate for Reading Central, spoke passionately at the Lib Dem Spring Conference in York on Saturday, calling on the Government and the EFL to intervene to save Reading FC from collapse - and in support of Lib Dem proposals to increase support for grassroots sport and widen availability of televised sports coverage so more people can enjoy it.

Henry has joined Clive Jones, Lib Dem candidate for Wokingham, in backing Sell Before We Dai's calls to save Reading FC for the town.  Clive's intervention on the same day as Henry's speech highlighted a planning stipulation that the Bearwood training ground may only be used by Reading FC, helping forestall attempts by Reading FC's owner to strip the world-class facility from the club and sell it off.

Addressing the Conference wearing a Reading FC strip, Henry said, "You might have noticed this shirt I'm wearing - what does it mean?  Well, to me it makes me part of a community that has existed in one way or another in Reading since 1871. It is of course the shirt of my beloved Reading Football Club.  It unites people from across my town, from different areas, different backgrounds, different views, in their love of the sport.  But I have to say - sport is a powerful thing, but it is at its weakest when we give too much power to corporations and big money.

"Today, my beloved Royals are on the verge of collapse thanks to the very greed we seek to address.  The EFL have allowed the club to be bought by an irresponsible owner, Dai Youngge; he's selling our training ground, he's not paying our staff, he is ruining the club, and he is potentially going to rob this sporting asset from the town - so if anyone from the EFL or DCMS is watching, we must save Reading Football Club.

"And it's this feeling of people across Reading which illustrates why me must support Lib Dem proposals to open up sport for the people - and support people who are supporters, players, athletes, trainers and back-office staff.  I work for the NHS and I know that increasing our activity would increase our health.  I hope this illustrates the plight of my club - the plight of my town - and the feelings these proposals create.  Sport is for the people, and we should support these proposals."