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Alarm bells sounding for Everton

Everton
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Rewind to Boxing Day 1963

Barclays Premier League
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By ESPN Staff

Man City reduce kids' season tickets to £95

Stuart Pearce has hailed Manchester City's new `cut-price for kids' season-ticket initiative and insists the Blues will continue to put the fans first.

City are one of the clubs who have struggled to attract capacity crowds this season, and Eastlands was barely half full for last weekend's FA Cup win over Southampton.

However, the Blues have done their best to arrest the slide in attendances - freezing adult prices for the fourth season in succession and also launching a £95 season ticket for under-16s.

As a fan of QPR during his schoolboy days, Pearce has not forgotten what it is like to pay to watch his heroes - which is why he is so delighted with City's decision to attract more young fans.

'When I went to watch QPR it meant everything to me,' he recalled.

'My memory is not so short that now I am on the inside of the game I think `I'm all right Jack'.

'Our football club is very proactive in putting supporters first. Youngsters are vital to every faculty of a club, whether you are talking about the next generation of players or supporters. They are the future of this country, and it is correct we should look after them.'

Pearce will hope for a packed house tomorrow as City welcome Reading, looking to extend a run of just one defeat in eight games but knowing a vast improvement is required on their last Premiership appearance - a 3-0 home defeat to Blackburn a fortnight ago.

'We know full well how quickly things can change in the Premiership,' he said.

'One defeat can become two or three - and it is the same with victories.

'We have to make sure we are very hard to beat and that we go flat out in games. If we do that and keep improving the youngsters at this club we will keep going in the right direction.'

Pearce may offer a debut to City's only significant transfer-window arrival, Michael Ball, who could occupy a left-sided slot in either defence or midfield.

Georgios Samaras and Bernardo Corradi are vying for the chance to partner Darius Vassell in attack, although neither man has been impressive over the first two-thirds of the season.

Reading have already beaten City once this term, a televised victory at the Madejski Stadium in September.

At the time, the result seemed a particularly bad one for the Blues - although subsequently the Royals have established themselves as a top-flight force and could easily record a top-six finish in their debut Premiership campaign.

Pearce knows Reading better than most, given the club's proximity to his Wiltshire home - and their startling rise to prominence under former City boss Steve Coppell has not come as a great surprise to the new England Under-21s coach, who believes the Royals will be here to stay.

'When you turn round and consider how comfortably they won the Championship last year, all the signs were they were going to have a good Premiership season,' he said.

'Alan Pardew takes some credit for taking the club on a fair way, before Steve took over to give it that final push.

'One thing I would say is they had a Premiership set-up before they got into the Premiership. They have a Premiership ground, a chairman who has put money into the club and good players. It doesn't look much like a boom-and-bust club to me.'