Attendance: 6,232
Scorers: Grant, Scott Date: 18 December 1999
Team: Howie, Bernal, Primus, Hunter, Murty, Evers (Scott), Grant, Caskey, Gurney, Potter, Williams.
Audio: Supplied by Classic Gold radio.
1-0: Grant scores for the Royals
1-1: Wrexham equalise
1-2: The pants start swining...
2-2: Scott gets a deserved goal for Reading
Match Hero:

The much hyped Pants Day delivered. Pants Day, that started as an idea on the discussion board of this site, was a true success - with amazing scenes as the vast majority of the 6,000 crowd swung their Pants. Pants were swung in protest and for fun - but it was clear it had made a point, with both Madejski and Pardew talking in length about Pants Day at the final whistle with both the local and national media. Madejski spoke about how he saw the fans viewpoint and thought the protest was a sensible alternative to the otherwise possible pitch invasions. Madesjki was even seen to be swinging a pair of club-shop eight quid boxers, in an obvious attempt to calm the situation and join the fans. Interesting then that Pardew's opinion was entirely opposite, and that the chairman chose to take the fans' angle.

Pardew stated that the players had been brave to take the field and that he wouldn't have been able to play under those conditions - in his opinion the fans' actions were disgusting and affected the performance of his players. The players probably were affected by the swinging of pants throughout the Madejski Stadium - but not neccessarily in a bad way, as for periods of the match Reading played some pretty decent football.

PANTS. The letters could have stood for many things - but the most popular was "Players Are Not Trying Suficiently". Today that might have been true for periods of the game, but at the end every Reading player was simply gutted they hadn't got the victory they deserved. At times all we did was try but without success. It wasn't a bad game. The pants added loads to the entertainment value - but even without them it would have been one of the better games this season with Reading trying to win it and an away side also looking for the full three points. However, it's still unacceptable to draw at home against fellow relegation candidates, and those that wish to complain will find plenty to complain about.

Although there were plenty of pants on display, it seemed many had cautiously stashed a pair or two away in pockets ready for use if needed. For a brief (sorry) moment it seemed as though the day would be an anti-climax. But then, just before kick-off, a couple of scattered groups started to swing their pants above their heads, eventually it spread until the entire East Stand were swinging pants as the teams came out - even people in the West and North stands were swinging away.

There was no doubt the pressure was on the Royals. A game we needed to win and with a fair few key players missing. Up front we were left with just the one striker - Martin Williams. Keith Scott, recovering from injury still was judged not to be able to play the full ninety minutes and started on the bench. With Polston and Parkinson both out suspended we had an unusual five man midfield and Hunter was back in the centre of defence. The Pants Day stage was truly set.

Thankfully for the first fifteen minutes it looked like the pants mights have the desired effect, as Reading looked determined to take the game to Wrexham, the visitors. Reading dominated from the off and the first time pants were swung were at the Wrexham keeper - who was quite simply pants. Williams broke free a couple of times and shot from outside the area, however instead of holding onto the ball like the keeper should have done he let it spill three times. With one man up front we didn't have anyone to run onto it and stick it into the net.

After a bright start Reading faded after a couple of poor passes meant the pants were directed at Reading for the first time during the game. Gurney and Evers were quick to earn some abuse after the ball was "knicker"ed off them by Wrexham, and the away side started getting into the game. On the half hour, after 15 minutes of poor football and the game slipping away into another non-event on the pitch, Pardew made a tactical substitution. Evers, who had done nothing all game was replaced by Keith Scott. Afterwards Pardew said he felt bullied into making a quick change to keep the pants swinger's happy. He also said that he thought Scott could last a full hour but no more. Immediately we reverted to a more familiar formation with two up front and started to play some better football.

Reading took the lead with just over five minutes of the first half remaining. Scott was let free to run forward just left of centre, and did well to make it to the edge of the box before being brought down. Although a clear foul the referee played advantage with Grant overlapping and storming into the area. The ball ran into his path and Grant fired home across the keeper into the right side of the net. Yes! "To the underpants 1-0"! A great moment... "We're pants and we're 1-0 up, we're pants...."

Unfortunately after grabbing the goal we failed to make the most of it by adding another one or two which would have killed the game off. Instead in typical Reading fashion we let Wrexham come at us. With the last kick of the first half, with 47 minutes on the clock Wrexham equalised, much to the delight of the travelling couple of hundred fans. The ball was played in from a corner on the right and volleyed in with some style from the edge of the box. 1-1, and there went the half time whistle.

The second half continued in the same way, with Reading seemingly dejected and unable to raise their game and with Wrexham well in control. It was no suprise when Wrexham took the lead on fifty minutes. A free kick was won on the edge of the box on the right. The ball was crossed into the middle of the box, Howie didn't come for it, and it was a free ball for the Wrexham player to connect and send it flying into the back of the net. 1-2. Silence spread across the Mad House apart from the noise of the simultaneous swinging of probably 4,000 pairs of pants. For a while it looked like it was going to get worse and Wrexham made a couple more chances. Such is the dispair at how we've been playing I was expecting a 1-3 or 1-4 defeat come the final whistle. If Wrexham had grabbed another it would have been all over. However, when they didn't Reading got more and more back into it determined to prove a point. And about five minutes later the point was made.

Williams stormed forward towards goal down the right, he beat one challenge, cut into the box diagonally and was challenged again. He was probably quite lucky with the bounce, but got away with the ball to shoot. The ball came back out to Scott on the left just a few yards from goal. Scott let rip, and the ball smacked against the underside of the crossbar and downwards onto the goal line. On the line it got tangled up in the legs on the last defender and bobbled backwards over the goalline. 2-2. Scott came legging it over to the East Stand, picked up a couple of pairs of y-fronts from the touchline and lobbed them into the crowd. A point well made Keith.

As the game started drawing to a close Reading played their best football of the game and did everything but score. The East Stand were busy rolling pants into balls and using the linesman as target practice much to their amusement. Reading must take some credit in that they kept at the task in hand and could have grabbed a late winner. The disapointment within the players was clear at the final whistle.

So Pants Day was a true success. The whole nation would have heard about it and Madejski, Pardew and the players, will know exactly how the fans feel. To the team's credit it appears we're trying hard to pull it around but it's going to be a very gradual process. Most of all the day was fun with the fans proving it is possible to have fun at the Mad House after all. The chanting between the middle of the stand and the left side were fantastic. Some atmosphere at last. At the final whistle of Reading's last home game before Christmas the snow was coming down and, despite the cold, things didn't seem as bad as they usually do when walking out of the Mad House.

Results need to pick up. I'm a blind optimist, but I think they will.

Pants Day - What Was It All About?
Read the organisers statements and pre-pants day stuff just here.

Post Match Opinions

We have proven this is OUR club and clearly we can make a difference. Thanks and huge respect to everyone who got involved in making Pants Day such a huge success. The club cannot ignore such overwhelming support for Pants Day. We can make it happen.
-- Lance Edwards

An excellent idea which was well supported by the Reading fans. The most exciting part of the game was 10 minutes before kick off when the East stood to virtually every man, woman and child and swung their pants and panties, whilst bopping to the pa music. A great laugh. The match itself was crap, apart from about 20 minutes of Reading effort. As usual not enough and yet again no result. Fortunately most of the other relegation hopefuls either drew or lost. Wrexham were a little above Conference standard which says little about Reading!
-- Roger Scott

Pants day - a resounding success. We reminded the Players and club that they are here for us and not the other way round. A few of us made new friends, and pants day could well be the catalist to us fans making the Mad Stad our home, which lets be honest it hasnt been so far!
-- Keith Fothergill

We should take up the pants permanently, if not to wave at our players, then to wave at the away supporters when we finally start to thrash them (of course this will be in about 20 years; we need that long to build the team.)
-- Stephen McCoull

A success for the fans there was more atmosphere with 6,000 than we had at times with 10000 in the Stad. The team responded well. Disapointed to see only Scott and Potter go over to the Reading fans to celebrate the second goal. Hopefully it was the knock up the backside that the players needed. We should seriously consider having pants at every match to wave when we score, when their players do something stupid etc. it could be the start of a bandwagon that takes us up the division. Also disapointed with what Pardew said about it but hopefully it was a bit of psychology on his part to get on side with the players i.e. you did well lads you were taking stick from the fans lets show those fan what we can do. Cardiff match will be the key game now.
Roman Motyczak

Brilliant! I haven't enjoyed a match so much since I can't remember when. Ever since we moved to the Mad House the spirit has been ebbing away from the Reading support, but yesterday brought back the good times from Elm Park - when Reading supporters were known for being irreverent, funny and a bit crazy. Let's keep this up! I'm taking my Y-fronts to Cardiff - I'd rather we were known as those mad buggers who swing their pants about than supporters with a fancy stadium and an expensive, crap team.
-- Peter Jones

"Fun" and "Madejski Stadium" are not phrases that have often gone together since we moved from Elm Park (RIP) - unless you happen to be a Bristol Rovers supporter. Yesterday provided some fun and sparked an atmosphere - not just in the East Stand but around the whole ground - things which have been sadly lacking for so long and for so many reasons. Whether you're Pro-Pants or Anti-Pants it's undeniable that the Wrexham experience was memorable. When was the last time we made more noise than the away support (we've been outsung by fewer supporters than Wrexham brought)? I am still disappointed with Pardew blaming the pants for some of the performance. A 2-2 draw is disappointing, but we're beginning to show more fight, even with a less than full strength side - full marks to Keith Scott for throwing pants back at us. Hang on to your humour - we've a long way to go. "Never underestimate the Power of Pants".
-- Stef Fafinski

Sorry, couldn't get to the game. Car broke down on the motorway outside Swinedon - bugger. It seems a good time was had by all. But as suggested by some others, why not now swing your pants with pride? It makes us quirky, it makes us unique. Swing pants as we move up the league. Beat Plymouth, beat PNE and we could be home to Arsenal/Chelsea etc in the madhouse full for the first time and swing your pants at the Premiership glory hunting gits. The turning point of the season. I have been drinking though...
-- George Town

For the first time in a long while we were really looking forward to going to the Mad Stad and we were not disappointed. We really had a great afternoon, it was like one big party, fellow fans you did`t know were chatting with you like old mates.Surely this is the OTHER side to being a footie fan and long may it last.The players must realise whilst we are concerned about them as players our main concern is our club, READING F.C.Well done to everybody for making the day a huge success.
-- Karen Batho

What a brilliant afternoon, for the first time at the Mad Stad there was a real atmosphere, I was particularly pleased to see John joining in from his Royal seat. But why o why do we have such a miserable manager, his interview on the radio was so boring I nearly fell asleep!! Perhaps it's time he started showing some fighting spirit or cleared off and we had someone with a real passion for the greatest football club in the world.
-- Peter Warner

Brilliant!!! what a day out at the mad house (the best yet?) my wife and my daughter attended for the first time with me and my two sons and had agreat time. This must have been one of the most bizzare occurences at any football ground anywhere( a direct challenge to any other unhappy fans). Well done to Lance and the organising commitee. The atmosphere, the football (at times), the snow at the end of the game all made for a magnificant day out.
-- Colin Harris

This was good entertainment for a change, I swung my pants quite a bit but also I think it provided a bit of atmosphere giving the away team a bit of stick as well. I think that the players got the message and responded quite well, shame we had to conceded two goals - the second was very poor defending! and the first was an example to our inability to clear. Did not like Pards comments about the pants, maybe if we had some consistent entertainment on the field we would not have to provide our own. Pants or no pants I will be back for more. Merry Xmas royals fans.
-- William Pocock

I like many others found it to be a welcome releif to some of whats been going on. I thought pants stood for "Pardew's Army Not Troubling Success", or "Protest Against Non Trying Superstars", or "Pardew Another Non Tried Stooge". However I only posted the first 2 on the window behind my seat in the premier seats, which at the moment look like conference seats.
-- David Mutlow

We the supporters have created our very own 'Pantasy World' where we enjoy ourselves and let the well paid professionals know that we are not stupid and can very easily tell the difference between application and merely going through the motions. The players who fell foul of the protest element of the 'pantasy' know who they are and they SHOULD be upset because we may have derailed their gravy train! Players like "Parky" have nothing to fear and even if it did prick one or two players into making extra effort, then I make no apology for being involved. Hopefully we can draw a line under this now and move on to winning some games and getting out of the relegation zone!

-- Terry Reynolds

Brilliant, My first game since the Yeovil game due to a leg op. Met my son Joe who was coming home from Sheffield Univesity with bags loaded with pants. We waved, but we also raved about Potter's contribution to what I believe was a pretty even game. Potter was always invloved in a game that saw both defences looking frail. I know we are in deep sh-t but if (and a big if) we will get out of the mess that we are currently in we could go on to something a whole lot better. This was my last game of the century and I worked it out that I have been watching the Blue and White hoops for 37 years and I'm only 46. Johnny Walker, Colin Meldrum, Arthur Wilkie, and Pat Terry stick in my mind plus Jimmy Wheeler, Dick Spiers, I suppose things are brighter when your a kid. But I'll never forget Robin Friday or Archie's 2 goals in the last 2 minutes at home to Wolves.Or Shaka.
Happy Xmas and lets hope (fingers crossed) that the next century see Reading taking on the high priests of the premiership .

-- Pete & Joel Turner.

Got an Opinion?
Comment on this, or any Royals match - email opinion@royals.cx
Appropriate submissions will appear on match report pages!