Along with ascribing favorable reports of England’s 1-1 exhibition draw with Holland to “the Cult of Steve (McLaren) – an unswerving devotion to an England boss with a Paul-Shane-from-Hi-De-Hi quiff and a get-10-men-behind-the-ball philosophy,” the Fiver’s Sean Ingle and Barry Glendenning cover the matter of hate mail addressed to the Madjeski Stadium.
Death threats addressed to Reading players Stephen Hunt and Ibrahima Sonko (above) have been shrugged off by both players, their team-mates and their manager, according to the club. “We are going to kill you for what you did to our players,” read the first letter, dictated by a Chelsea fan to his PA and referring to the clashes involving Hunt and Sonko that resulted in a brace of Chelsea goalkeepers being admitted to hospital with head injuries.
While the first missive was treated as a joke and pinned up on Reading’s training-ground dressing room, the arrival of subsequent letters prompted Reading to call in Plod to investigate. “We went through the proper channels and we reported it. Obviously it was the work of a nut but nuts can be dangerous,” declared manager Steve Coppell, displaying a good basic knowledge of the medical condition anaphylaxis.
Meanwhile in London, a Chelsea spokesman confirmed that whoever had sent the death threats was almost certainly a Stamford Bridge regular. “There is nothing to suggest these threats came from genuine Chelsea fans,” he sighed, before sticking up a sign advising caution for any other Johnny Come-Latelys who may feel inclined to start sitting in silence at the home of the Premiership champions. The warning? “May contain nuts”.