READING plan to festoon Wembley with 30,000 blue and white T-shirts tomorrow in the belief that fan power can propel them to a famous win over Arsenal and their first ever FA Cup final.
Royals manager Steve Clarke credits a rousing atmosphere at the Madejski Stadium for inspiring his team to a 3-0 victory over cup specialists Bradford in the quarter-final replay last month.
Club chiefs intend to harness that effect by creating a so-called T-shirt mosaic, which they hope will come to life when every spectator in the Reading end dons the free top waiting on their seat.
“The supporters have to go to Wembley and enjoy the day. No matter what is happening on the pitch, we’d like the supporters to be as vocal as they can and back the team,” Clarke said.
“I sent out a message before the quarter final with Bradford for them to turn up in their numbers and get behind the team, and they did. The effect they had on us with the start to the game won us the tie.
“The atmosphere in the stadium; the players were energised by the noise that the fans created. That won us the game. They understand how big a part they need to play.”
Arsenal are the first top-flight opposition Reading have faced this season, having seen off Huddersfield, Cardiff and Derby as well as League One side Bradford.
The Berkshire club have lost all 12 matches they have ever played against the Gunners, while the last three meetings have been high-scoring affairs, averaging eight goals per game.