On this day two years ago, our lives changed forever.

After weeks of speculation regarding lockdowns, as a new virus ripped through the world, the decision was made by Prime Minister Boris Johnson that England would enter an unprecedented lockdown.

Non-essential shops were shut, the doors to schools and offices were closed and sport was put on hold.

In the grand scheme of things, football is irrelevant and over the course of three months we would read nothing but daily death figures and stories of new variants.

This would stretch on-and-off until the present day, although football did return behind-closed-doors in June 2020, where it would remain until the opening day of the 2021/22 campaign.

Famously the most important of the unimportant things in life, football is a way out, an escape- and in such a time of worry and fear, we all needed it.

One Saturday over 1400 of us Royals travelled up to the Second City, crammed into trains and a poky concourse and roared on our team to victory against Birmingham City.

Reading Chronicle:

Little did we know at the time that it would be almost 18 months until we would be able to travel the country watching our team, and a similar amount of time to even step foot back in our second home, the newly renamed Select Car Leasing Stadium.

Walking back up Shooters Way on that summery afternoon against Preston North End last year, I took my time.

I made sure to appreciate the stewards, the smells, the sights and every single one of you- fellow supporters! After such a torrid couple of years, we all deserved to have something to smile about, to escape.

But then human nature kicks in. Despite setting out with the best intentions, as we all do, I quickly fell back into the same trap of turning up close to kick-off, getting frustrated at long queues outside the turnstiles and falling back into old habits. Taking the passion and game for granted.

Suddenly, rather than appreciate being out and watching my team in the flesh after a whole season on the television, I was back to feeling anger- and even disappointment that another game was fast-approaching on the horizon after a 7-0 hammering or a last minute goal flying intot the back of our net!

Normal, pre-Covid, feelings following a team during the ups, and mainly downs, in the Championship.

Despite a world-altering event, and one which is still sadly impacting thousands of people every week, in the vicinity of a football stadium- life is very much back to normal.

And I must admit- I love it.

Reading Chronicle:

For an afternoon or evening I’m not thinking about Covid, new variants or isolation.

For 90 minutes all that matters is you, your army, and your gladiators on the pitch.

And that is exactly how it should be!

So much has changed over the last two years, but thankfully so much has stayed the same!