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Ex Portsmouth star to join Reading supporters’ ‘massive demonstration’ ahead of League One clash on Saturday

Reading fans will protest against the club’s ownership this weekend (Image: Getty Images)
Reading fans will protest against the club’s ownership this weekend (Image: Getty Images)

Former Portsmouth star Dave Kitson will walk in solidarity with Reading supporters as the fanbase protests against owner Dai Yongge before this weekend's League One fixture.

Pompey travel to Berkshire on Saturday to play recently relegated side Reading with the two sides having very different seasons so far this term. John Mousinho's side are flying high at the top of League One thanks to an unbeaten season so far while Ruben Selles' side find themselves in the relegation zone, winless in six.

Reading's form has not been helped by off-the-pitch dramas as the club continues to find itself in hot water. The former Premier League side have already been docked four points this season for failing to pay players on time and not complying with an order to deposit funds in an account.

That punishment comes after a six-point deduction in the Championship last season ultimately saw the club relegated and a transfer embargo is currently in place for failing to pay a tax bill to HMRC.

Supporters have shown their unrest by wearing black at matches and throwing tennis balls onto the pitch. This weekend, the Sell Before We Dai group are organising a march ahead of the meeting with Portsmouth, and a familiar Fratton Park face will be showing his support for the cause.

Dave Kitson made 72 appearances for Pompey between 2010 and 2012, never managing to make a significant impact on the south coast with just 12 goals to his name, his most memorable likely the 90th-minute equaliser against Doncaster Rovers in 2012. The striker is, of course, a Reading legend having made 159 appearances for the Royals and helping them secure promotion to the Premier League in 2006.

The march this weekend is set to take place between the Reading town centre and the Select Car Leasing Stadium before the 3 pm kick-off. The Sell Before We Dai group explained: "Reading FC is in a critical situation: relegated to League One, facing charges from the EFL and run by an owner who neither understands nor cares about our club. Dai Yongge has failed us miserably. He has brought nothing but misery, failure and embarrassment. He has shown no respect for Reading's fans, players or staff. He has broken his promises and betrayed our trust.

Former Pompey star Dave Kitson is a Reading legend (Image: Getty Images)
Former Pompey star Dave Kitson is a Reading legend (Image: Getty Images)

"We have had enough. We want him out. We want our club back. That's why we are calling on all Reading fans to join us in a massive demonstration on Saturday, 28 October, ahead of the Portsmouth game. We want to show Dai Yongge that he is not welcome here. That we are united, passionate and proud. That we are the beating heart of Reading FC. That we will not give us until he has gone."

Pompey boss Mousinho has spoken about the expected protests this weekend, but told his squad to stay focused on the football. The manager told The News: “The hardest thing in football is to try to block out all the noise and sometimes you can look too much at external factors. We have no idea what it’s going to be like on Saturday, we have no idea if they are going to throw tennis balls onto the pitch or if there’s going to be a disruption. We can’t prepare for any of that.

“If these things happen fine, get on with it, it’s not a problem. If a referee gets injured and there’s 25 minutes of stoppage time, we get on with it. If we have back-to-back away games great, if we have injuries, illnesses, whatever, we have to get on with it. It’s just another example of football and how many, many different factors go on which you can’t control. You can’t possibly control what the Reading fans are going to do in protest, we’ll do everything as per usual for ourselves and be as best prepared as we can.

“The only thing we are concerned about is us and the away fans. It feels like we are all travelling there together, in it together, that’s the Pompey unit when we go to Reading. I know we’ll take huge amount of fans because we do anywhere and everywhere. We just have to focus on making sure we go there and try to win the game.”