Councillors have spoken passionately about the huge social value of Reading Football Club, and how that could be at risk as the fortunes of the club decline.

While the first team on the pitch has had some wins under its belt, there is still instability over the ownership of Reading FC, which has led to financial penalties and points deductions.

Reading Borough Council recently issued a motion calling for current owner Dai Yongge to sell the club and for the creation of an Independent Regulator for elevated tests on those hoping to be club owners at a full council meeting.

It has also listed the Select Car Leasing Stadium as an Asset of Community Value as a symbolic act to highlight its importance.

At that latest meeting and beyond, the councillors that represent Whitley -which is where the stadium is located- have spoken about the positive impact the club has on the area.

Councillor Micky Leng (Labour, Whitley) said: “I fell out of love with football years ago, not with the football or indeed with the results.

“I physically puked at a loss, and I cried with a victory.

“I fell out of love because of the greed. Don’t be confused, I’m not talking about the players, many from working class backgrounds getting paid what they deserve, but the corporate greed.”

READ MORE: We will not let Reading FC die - push for 'unmitigated disaster' owner to sell

He went on to argue that while football has been commodified, it still has the power to unite people.

He said: “Social democracy can only work if it convinces people that they are part of something together, I think football achieves this very well.

“I thank fans personally for reigniting my passion for football, I’ve come a bit of a regular down there.

“But we only really appreciate something when we think we’re going to lose it forever.”

Cllr Leng further explained: “Football doesn’t do the democracy really well, but it does the engagement really really well.

“It makes people feel as though they are part of something which is something we should try and do in politics.”

READ MORE: Work steaming ahead on vital community centre for people in Whitley

Fellow councillor Alice Mpofu-Coles (Labour, Whitley) spoke about the social function of the club providing employment for young people as parking attendants and food servers.

She said: “Young people from Whitley would walk across and help with the parking, you get £5, those who are 16 young boys and girls are serving burgers are hired.

“After you get your own pocket money while you are still going to school, it’s huge.”

Reading Chronicle: Councillors Micky Leng and Alice Mpofu-Coles, both Labour representatives for Whitley ward. Credit: James Aldridge, Local Democracy Reporting ServiceCouncillors Micky Leng and Alice Mpofu-Coles, both Labour representatives for Whitley ward. Credit: James Aldridge, Local Democracy Reporting Service

Cllr Leng added: “It’s not just about the football, it’s about everything that’s wrapped around it, all the supply chains that are linked to the football club.

“I went to a midweek game, and it’s got so bad up there there was no milk for the tea at the kiosk.”

The club is facing financial difficulties as a result of multiple fines from the English Football League due to regulation breaches.

READ MORE: Reading FC docked three points again for failing to pay wage bill

There are fears these difficulties could have a knock-on impact Whitley and Reading as a whole.

Cllr Mpofu-Coles said: “There’s a knock on effect on hotels. People used to come and stay in hotels and make the business grow, there was buying of food as well.

“It’s a big big chain and it’s all gone.”

Cllr Mpofu-Coles said that football comes from the grassroots, and praised the Reading amateur club Giveback FC for its work on tackling violence, and Sanctuary Strikers FC for its work to give relief and exercise for refugees.

Talks have taken place to begin the sale of Reading FC but no buyer has been selected yet.