Reading F.C.

Reading F.C.

Infobox Football club
clubname = Reading
current =

fullname = Reading Football Club
nickname = The Royals
shortname =
founded = 1871
ground = Madejski Stadium
capacity = 24,224
chairman = flagicon|England John Madejski
mgrtitle = Manager
manager = flagicon|England Steve Coppell
league = The Championship
season = 2007–08
position = Premier League, 18th

Reading Football Club are an association football club, based in the English town of Reading, in Berkshire. They play in the The Championship in the 2008-09 season after being relegated on the final day of the previous season. When Reading gained promotion to the Premier League, on 25 March 2006, they achieved promotion to the top flight earlier in the season than any other post-war side, and also gained the highest points tally ever attained in any of England's four professional divisions. It was also the first time Reading had reached the top division in their history. [cite news | title=Leicester 1-1 Reading. They gained 106 points, a record, beating Sunderland's previous record.| url= | publisher=BBC Sport | date=2006-03-25 | accessdate=2006-05-04]

They are nicknamed the Royals, due to Reading's location in the Royal County of Berkshire. The crest design is based on the club colours, a crown which in heraldry represents royal sovereignty for the County of Berkshire and a lion which is an image of Reading's most famous landmark, the Maiwand Lion. Consequently, Reading's mascot is a lion called Kingsley Royal.

Reading supporters are represented by "STAR", the Supporters Trust At Reading.


The early years

Reading were formed in 1871. They were originally nicknamed "The Biscuitmen" after one of the main trades in the town, Huntley & Palmers biscuits, but changed to the Royals in the 1970s, when the company closed their factory [cite news | title=The History of Reading Football Club | url=,,10306,00.html ||] . This history is reflected in the name of the club's unofficial fanzine, Hob Nob Anyone?, named after a popular British biscuit.

The club played at Reading Recreation Ground until 1878, before moving on to Reading Cricket Ground (1878–1882), Coley Park (1882–1889) and Caversham Cricket Ground (1889–1896).

The Elm Park years

The switch to professionalism in 1895 resulted in the need for a bigger ground and, to this end, the club moved again, to the purpose-built Elm Park on 5 September 1896. Elm Park had a capacity of 15,500.

In 1913 Reading toured Italy and beat Genoa 4-2 and A.C. Milan 5-0, narrowly lost 2-1 to Casale, before beating Italian champions Pro Vercelli 6-0 and the full Italian national team 2-0, prompting the leading sports newspaper Corriere della Sera to write "without doubt, Reading FC are the finest foreign team seen in Italy." Reading were invited back for another tour the following year, but there is no evidence it took place. It is possible it was cancelled due to the imminence of World War I, which claimed the lives of many Reading F.C. players, including Alan Foster, who put a hat-trick past Milan. [cite web | title=The Reading FC Tour of Italy 1913 | year=2002 | month=November | url= | accessdate=2006-08-22]

Reading were elected to the Third Division of the Football League in 1920, and have spent the majority of the time since then in the third tier of the league, with occasional flirtations with the second and fourth tiers.

Reading's best performance in the FA Cup came in 1926–27 when they lost to eventual winners Cardiff City in the semi-final. The side's moment of cup glory came in 1988 when they won the Simod Cup, beating a number of top flight sides en-route to their Wembley win over Luton Town.

Reading were promoted to the Second Division as champions in 1986 under the management of Ian Branfoot, but were relegated back to the Third Division in 1988. Branfoot left in October 1989, having failed to get the Royals back into the Second Division. His successor, Ian Porterfield, lasted just 18 months before further failures cost him his job. The appointment of Mark McGhee as player-manager in June 1991 saw Reading move forward.

They were crowned champions of the new Division Two in 1994 and, when McGhee moved to Leicester City halfway through the following season, Reading still appeared in with a chance of a second straight promotion. 35-year-old striker Jimmy Quinn was put in charge of the first team alongside midfielder Mick Gooding and guided Reading to runners-up in the final Division One table — only to be denied automatic promotion because of the streamlining of the Premier League, from 22 teams to 20. Reading had eased past Tranmere Rovers in the play-off semi-finals and looked to have booked their place in the Premiership after building up a 2-0 lead over Bolton Wanderers by half time in the final. Two late goals from Bolton forced extra time and the match ended 4-3 to Bolton. Quinn and Gooding's contracts were not renewed two years later after Reading had slid into the bottom half of Division One.

Their successor, Terry Bullivant, lasted less than one season before being sacked in March 1998. The Royals finished that season bottom of Division One and slipped into Division Two.

Move to Madejski Stadium

1998 also saw Reading move into the new 24,200-seat Madejski Stadium — named after chairman John Madejski — in the Smallmead area of the town.

Former Celtic boss, Tommy Burns had taken over from Terry Bullivant but lasted just 18 months before being replaced by Alan Pardew who had previously been reserve team manager before being released.

In 2001, Reading became the first football club to register their fans as an official member of their squad, in recognition of the fact that the supporters in the stadium on a match day can sometimes influence the match just as much as a player on the pitch. The idea came from supporter Andy Manson in the summer of 2001 when the number 13 was left vacant by then boss Alan Pardew after the departure of the club's number 13, Keith Scott. Since then the "player" registered with squad number 13, has been named 'Reading Fans'. [cite news | title=Loyal Royals' number is up! | url=,,10306~80641,00.html | | date=2001-08-06 | accessdate=2007-01-26] [cite news | title=Fans given thumbs up for Number 13 | url=,,10306~81990,00.html | | date=2001-08-09 | accessdate=2007-01-26] .

Reading made it back to Division One in 2002 after finishing runners-up in Division Two. Good form the following season saw them finish fourth in Division One and qualify for the play-offs. Their promotion hopes were ended by a defeat against Wolverhampton Wanderers in the semi-finals, Reading's third unsuccessful attempt to gain promotion via the play-offs. Pardew acrimoniously moved to West Ham United the following October and was replaced at Reading by Brighton & Hove Albion's Steve Coppell.

In 2004–05, Reading finished seventh in the Football League Championship and just missed out in the play-offs.

Reading reach the Premiership

On 25 March 2006, Reading won promotion to the Premier League for the first time in their history. A 1-1 draw away at Leicester, coupled with Watford's defeat against Millwall, and Leeds United only drawing with Stoke City, secured Reading one of the top two automatic promotion places in the Championship. MPs congratulated Reading's successful season with two early day motions shortly after Reading finally secured promotion. [cite web | title=Early Day Motion 1902 | url= | date=2006-03-27 | accessdate=2006-05-04] [cite web | title=Early Day Motion 1911 | url= | date=2006-03-28 | accessdate=2006-05-04] The following week, they celebrated winning the Championship after defeating Derby County 5-0, while Stoke City held Sheffield Utd 1-1 [cite news | title=Reading 5-0 Derby | date=2006-04-01 | url= | publisher=BBC Sport | accessdate=2006-05-04] . This sparked a pitch invasion and the players celebrated in front of the fans from the safety of the directors' box.The Club also secured a record number of points for the second tier — 106 — and fell only one short of scoring 100 goals. Reading lost only two games during the season. [cite web | date=2006-07-11 | url= | title=Championship Table 2005-06 | publisher=football365 | accessdate=2007-06-25]

First Premier League season - 2006–07

The 2006–07 season saw Reading make their first appearance in the top flight of English football. In the club's first Premiership game, Reading found themselves down 2-0 inside the first twenty minutes to Middlesbrough, but in a stunning turnaround the Royals netted home their first Premiership goals and won 3-2. Striker Dave Kitson became the first player to score for Reading in the top flight of football. [cite news | title=Reading 3-2 Middlesbrough | date=2006-08-19 | url= | publisher=BBC Sport | accessdate=2006-08-22] While it is commonplace for teams who get promoted to the Premiership to experience a "one-and-done" season before being relegated, Reading distanced themselves from that curse (rather like fellow promoted clubs in the past, e.g. Wigan Athletic and Portsmouth), scoring against every team in the division bar Watford.

Reading notched up some impressive results during the early stages of the season, including draws against Manchester United and Chelsea and a narrow 1-0 home defeat to defending champions Chelsea, leading many commentators to change their opinion of the Premiership's newest member. [cite news | date=2006-08-13 | url=,,1843663,00.html | title=This way to Euro glory | work=The Guardian | accessdate=2006-12-23 | author=Paul Wilson] [cite news | date=2006-10-08 | url=,,1890162,00.html | title=A Royals apology, but don't wait to see what's around the corner | work=The Guardian | accessdate=2006-12-23 | author=Paul Wilson]

Perhaps one of the highlights of the season came on 1 January 2007, when Reading beat West Ham United 6-0. [cite news | date=2007-01-01 | url= | title=Reading 6-0 West Ham | publisher=BBC Sport | accessdate=2007-02-13] It represents the club's first 'double' in the top flight, as Reading had won at Upton Park 1-0 previously in the season. The 2-0 victory over Manchester City on 3 February 2007 [cite news | date=2007-02-03 | url= | title=Man City 0-2 Reading | publisher=BBC Sport | accessdate=2007-02-13] took Reading to 40 points in the Premiership, the total seen by some as that required to avoid relegation. After that impressive start to 2007, the Royals recorded three defeats in quick succession to Middlesbrough, to Manchester United in an FA Cup Fifth Round replay, and to Arsenal. John Oster scored his first Premiership goal for the club against Middlesbrough, and his first goal in the top flight since scoring for Everton in the club's 4-2 win over Barnsley in September 1997. The FA Cup replay against Manchester United was notable in that Reading contrived to concede three goals in the opening six minutes of the game. The final score was 3-2 to Manchester United. [cite news | date=2007-02-27 | url= | title=Reading 2-3 Man Utd | publisher=BBC Sport | accessdate=2007-05-14] Reading's final game of the season was an away fixture to Blackburn Rovers, which ended 3-3 from which Reading came from behind three times, with goals from Seol Ki-Hyeon, Kevin Doyle and Brynjar Gunnarsson. [cite news | date=2007-05-13 | url= | title=Blackburn 3-3 Reading | publisher=BBC Sport | accessdate=2007-05-14] The result was not enough for qualification for the UEFA Cup for the 2006–07 season as it meant that Reading finished the season in eighth place with 55 points. Reading also turned down the chance to play in the Intertoto Cup meaning it was passed down to Portsmouth, who also rejected it, passing it to Blackburn who accepted the offer. The club's top scorer in the league was Kevin Doyle with 13 goals, while top scorer overall was Leroy Lita with 14.

econd Premier League Season - 2007–08

In the run up to their second season in the Premier League, Reading took part in the 2007 Peace Cup in South Korea. After defeat to River Plate and victories over Lyon and Shimizu S-Pulse, Reading failed to qualify for the final on goal difference [ cite news | date=2007-07-19 | url= | title=Peace Cup diary | publisher=BBC Berkshire | accessdate=2007-07-24] .

The season began in earnest on 12 August 2007, with an away fixture against champions Manchester United, in which the match ended in a scoreless draw, with substitute Dave Kitson being sent off after less than a minute for a challenge on Patrice Evra. On 15 August 2007 Reading's first home game of the season finished with a 1-2 defeat to Chelsea. Reading's goal scorer was Andre Bikey, slotting home, after Peter Cech dropped the ball from a cross.

On 29 September 2007, Reading were beaten by Portsmouth 7-4 in a thrilling game, with goals from Hermann Hreidarsson, a own goal from Ivar Ingimarsson, Niko Kranjcar, Sulley Muntari and a Benjani hat trick for Portsmouth and for Reading; Dave Kitson, Stephen Hunt, [cite news | date=2007-10-30 | url=,,10306~1124621,00.html | title=Rosenior is given Pompey goal | | accessdate=2007-12-12] Nicky Shorey and a Sol Campbell own goal. This result also holds the Premiership record for the highest aggregate score of 11 goals in one game.

On 8 December 2007, Reading defeated Liverpool 3-1 at home, notching their first win ever against one of the "Big Four" English clubs (Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United). The goals were scored by Stephen Hunt, Kevin Doyle and James Harper.

However, Reading were unable to keep up this form throughout the season, and entered May in 17th place - just one point and one place clear of relegation with 3 games to go. Second season syndrome has definitely affected Reading in 2007-08.

Despite winning against Derby in their final match of the season by four goals to nil, Reading were unable to affect their relegation to The Championship. Fulham defeated Portsmouth 1-0 at Fratton Park to escape relegation.

Return to the Championship - 2008–09


Reading hold the English league record for the longest winning sequence at the start of a season with 13 victories in succession at the beginning of season 1985–86.

In 1979, Reading goalkeeper Steve Death went 1103 minutes without conceding a goal, also an English league record.

They also hold the embarrassing honour of having experienced more FA Cup defeats than any other team. This is because Reading are the oldest club still competing in the competition never to have won the Cup. Notts County entered the competition at the same time as Reading, in 1877–78. However, because County won the cup in 1894 (and so were unbeaten in that season), they have suffered one fewer defeat in the competition than Reading. In the year that County won the Cup, Reading suffered their worst ever defeat, losing 18-0 to Preston North End, at least partly because the Preston players used studs on their quagmire of a pitch.Fact|date=July 2007

During their successful 2005–06 Premiership promotion campaign, Reading broke another record when they went 33 matches unbeaten, the longest in the history of England's second tier, from 9 August 2005 until they lost to Luton Town on 17 February 2006. In the same season, Reading broke Sunderland's record for most points in a season in English football history, finishing with 106 points, and breaking the previous record by a single point. [cite news | title=Reading 2-1 QPR | url= | publisher=BBC Sport | date=2006-04-30 | accessdate=2006-05-04] Reading narrowly failed to become the first team to finish a season with both 100 goals and 100 points, but fell short by one goal, scoring "only" 99 times. [cite news | title=We can be ton up kings - Doyle | url= | | date=2006-04-18 | accessdate=2006-05-04]

Reading staked its claim to one of English football's more unlikely records in the FA Cup competition of its fledgling Premiership campaign. Having reached the 5th round of the competition for the first time in nearly a decade, Reading secured a creditable 1-1 draw with Manchester United at Old Trafford, only to concede three goals in the first 5 minutes and 41 seconds of the replay, eventually losing the game 3-2. The Independent suggests that this represents the worst ever start to a game by a team in English football, [cite news | title= 'It is not often there is honour in defeat' says proud Coppell | url= | publisher=The Independent | date=2007-02-28 | accessdate=2007-07-24] surpassing the three goals conceded by Derby County in the first nine minutes of their home Premiership match with Leicester City in 1997–98.

Club records

* Best win: 10-2 v Crystal Palace (4 September 1946, Football League Third Division)
* Worst defeat: 18-0 v Preston North End (27 January 1894, FA Cup R1)
* Most successive league defeats: 8 (27 December 2007 to 24 February 2008)
* Most capped player (while at Reading): Kevin Doyle (20 Irish caps)
* Most league appearances: Martin Hicks (500, 1978 to 1991)
* Most league goals: Ronnie Blackman (158, 1947 to 1954)
* Most league goals in a season: Ronnie Blackman (39, 1951-52)
* Record transfer fee paid: £2.5m Emerse Fae from Nantes [cite news | title=Fae joins for club record fee | url=,,10306~1083650,00.html | date=2007-08-02 | accessdate=2007-08-03]
* Record transfer fee received: £5,500,000 Dave Kitson to Stoke City on 18 July 2008
* First Reading-based player to play in World Cup: U.S. international Bobby Convey (2006)

National records

* Longest winning sequence at the start of a season: 13 victories in 1985–86.
* Longest run in the football league without conceding a goal: 1103 minutes, over 11 matches between 24 March 1979 and 18 August 1979 (Steve Death was the goalkeeper throughout this run [cite web | title=Royals Legends - Steve Death | url=,,10306~68590,00.html | | accessdate=2006-05-04] )
* The first of the clubs who joined the Football League in 1920–22 to score 5000 League goals. Adrian Williams scored the 5000th against Wycombe in September 2000 but, due to a miscalculation, the framed certificate went to Darius Henderson who got the 5001st
* Longest unbeaten run in a single season of the 2nd tier of English Football: 33 games (2005–06)
* Most points in a single season in any English professional league: 106 points (2005–06)
* Reading have lost the two highest scoring matches in the history of the Premier League; Portsmouth 7 Reading 4, 29 September 2007 and Tottenham Hotspur 6 Reading 4, 29 December 2007. Both matches took place in the same season.

Current squad

:"As of 1 October 2008."cite web
title = Player Profiles
url =,,10306,00.html
publisher = Reading FC
accessdate = 2008-08-29

Players out on loan

Club officials

Board of Directors & Senior club staff
*Chief Executive - Nigel Howe
*Commercial Director - Pat Coyne
*Club Secretary - Sue Hewitt
*Financial Controller - Bryan Stabler
*Directors - John Madejski (Chairman) & Ian Wood-Smith (non-executive director)

Management team
*Manager - Steve Coppell
*Assistant Manager - Kevin Dillon
*First team coach - Wally Downes
*Goalkeeper Coach - Sal Bibbo
*Coach/Reserve team assistant manager- Nigel Gibbs
*Director of football - Nick Hammond
*Chief scout / reserve team manager - Brian McDermott
*Head physio - Jon Fearn
*Sports scientist - Kunle Odetoyinbo
*Kitman - Ron Grant

Honours and Best Finishes

* FA Barclays Premier League::2007, 8th Place (First Season Ever in Top Division)
*sport honours|Full Members Cup (a.k.a. 'Simod Cup')|1|1988
*sport honours|Football League Second Division|1|1994, runners-up 2002
*sport honours|Football League Third Division and Third Division South|2|1926, 1986, runners-up 1932, 1935, 1949, 1952
*sport honours|Football League Fourth Division|1|1979
*sport honours|London War Cup|1|1940-41
*sport honours|Football League Third Division South Cup|1|1938
* FA Cup Best Season Semi-final ::1927
* Football League Cup Best Season Quarter-final ::1996, 1998

Managerial honours

*LMA Manager of the Year Steve Coppell 2005-06, 2006-07

Notable former players

* George Best — made 4 pre-season appearances for Reading in 1982.
* Matt Busby — 40 wartime (non-league) appearances during 1942-1945 [cite book | last=Downs | first=David | title=Reading Football Club: 100 Greats | year=2000 | publisher=Tempus Publishing Ltd | isbn=075242081X | pages=pp. 27]
* Darren Caskey — made over 200 Appearances for Reading between 1996-2001, scoring 23 goals from midfield in the 1999–2000 season
* Steve Death — went 1103 minutes without conceding a goal, an English league record.
* Kerry Dixon — high scoring striker who was sold to Chelsea in 1983 and was later capped 8 times by England.
* Eamon Dunphy — Republic of Ireland international, later became a noted journalist and media pundit.
* Pat Earles — made over 250 appearances for Reading scoring 87 goals.
* Robin Friday — winner of the club's "Player of the Millennium" award.
* Ronnie Blackman, the club's all-time leading goalscorer.
* Maurice Evans — manager of Fourth Division championship side in 1979 and later managed Oxford United to League Cup glory.
* William Garbutt — started playing career with Reading, went on to play for Arsenal and then became a prominent manager in both Italy and Spain, winning the respective countries' league titles.
* Shaka Hislop — goalkeeper in 1995 play-off final who was then sold to Newcastle United for £1.575 million and later represented Trinidad and Tobago in the 2006 World Cup.
* Bob LenarduzziNASL star and former Canadian international and national team manager.
* Borislav Mikhailov — Bulgarian international goalkeeper, semifinalist in 1994 FIFA World Cup.
* Phil Parkinson — made 361 League appearances for Reading between 1992–2003 before becoming manager of Colchester United. He later moved on to briefly manage Hull City before becoming assistant manager to former Reading manager Alan Pardew at Charlton Athletic, where he remains today.
*Linvoy Primus — defender who played for the club between 1997–2000 and went on to play regularly in the Premiership with Portsmouth.
* Jimmy Quinn — made 294 appearances between 1992–97, top scorer in the whole football league in 1994 when Reading gained promotion, took over as joint manager with Mick Gooding when Mark McGhee acrimoniously left for Leicester City in December of that year.
* Lawrie Sanchez — joined his hometown club from school. Scored Wimbledon's winning goal in the 1988 Cup Final v Liverpool. Manager of Northern Ireland 2004-2007. Manager of English Premier League side Fulham, April 2007 - December 2007.
* Steve Sidwell — made nearly 200 appearances for Reading between 2003–07 before leaving the club for Chelsea at the end of his contract. A very popular player who was a key part of the team who won promotion to the Premiership.
* Dariusz Wdowczyk — formerly a Poland international with 53 caps from 1984–92, he made 82 appearances for Reading between 1994–98.
* Neil Webb — joined his hometown club from school. Went on to Portsmouth, Nottingham Forest, Manchester United and England, winning 26 full caps before serious injury curtailed his career. Currently working as a TV football pundit.
* Adrian Williams — former Wales international who made a total of 318 League appearances for Reading in two spells between 1989 and 2004.
* Glen Little, popular right winger who made over 100 appearances for the club in two spells. Considered Reading's best ever winger by many. Other clubs include Burnley and Portsmouth.
* Dave Kitson, striker who played in the Premier League alongside Sidwell, Little and Shorey. Other clubs include Stoke City F.C. and Cambridge United. Top scorer in 4 of his 5 years at the club, despite being hampered by injuries.
* Nicky Shorey, England international left back, formerly of Leyton Orient. Voted the club's best ever left back in the same team as Friday and Death.
* Ibrahima Sonko, towering defender played over 120 games for Reading. He was nicknamed Superman due to a goal line clearance against Ipswich in which he leapt "like Superman".

Managerial history

* Caretaker manager(s)


Reading's main current local rivalries are with Oxford United and Swindon Town. When the three teams had shared a division, their rivalry was referred to as the "Didcot Triangle". [cite web | url= | title=Didcot Triangle/Wallingford Quadrangle | accessdate=2007-02-22] However, nowadays the rivalry between Oxford and Swindon is far stronger than between either of the two and Reading due to them both spending most of the last 6-7 years in the lower divisions than Reading [] .

However, before going out of business in 1992, Aldershot F.C. were Reading's biggest rivals [,,441097,00.html] [] . There was a strong rift between the two sets of fans, with riots between fans occurring on several occasions.

Famous supporters

There are few famous confirmed supporters of Reading. However, notable inclusions are:
*Reading-born actress Kate Winslet, who revealed that she and her family are keen Reading followers in a letter to Reading FC Fanzine "The Whiff".Fact|date=February 2008
*Radio broadcaster and television presenter Chris Tarrant [] .
*Musician Mike Oldfield [cite news | title=Picadilly Radio Interview | url= | year=1985 | accessdate=2007-03-02] of Tubular Bells fame.
*Author and cricket commentator John Arlott. [cite news | title=Only two Rs for Arlott - writing and Reading | url=,,1741158,00.html | work=The Guardian | date=2006-03-28 | accessdate=2007-03-02]
*Musician Simon Gallup, long serving bass guitarist of The Cure, draped a team flag over his amp while playing in Sydney Australia during the band's 2007 tour.Fact|date=February 2008
*Boxer Michael Sprott [] .
*TV Golf Analyst and former professional golfer Richard Boxall
*Irwin Sparkes, lead singer and guitarist of The Hoosiers, originally from Reading.
*Andrew Peach, BBC Radio 2 Broadcaster

Reading Women

Reading began their association with women's football when it affiliated with Reading Royals LFC (previously Twyford Comets) in 1988. In May 2006, Reading ended this affiliation and started their own women's team, Reading FC Women.cite web | url=,,10306~1065210,00.html | title=Background of our women's team | accessdate=2007-11-19 |] In their very first season they achieved a Southern Region Women's Football League and Cup doublecite news | url=,,10306~1061182,00.html | title=Women secure league & cup double | accessdate=2007-11-19 |] and were promoted to the South West Combination Women's Football League. They followed this with an unbeaten 2007/8 League season to gain promotion to the Premier League Northern Division.


External links

* [ Reading F.C. official web site]
* [ Reading F.C. official photographic collection and sales site]
* [ Reading F.C. Unofficial Fan Website]
* [ STAR - Supporters Trust at Reading]
*BBC football info|BBClinkname=r/reading
* [ Back the Boys - Official site of the Royals PA team]
* [ Unofficial Reading FC photography site]
* [ Premiership In...Portugal 2008] Play for Reading in Europe at the Unofficial Premiership 5-a-side football tournament.
* [ Reading F.C.] at
* [ "Hob Nob Anyone?"] - unofficial fanzine web site
* [ Reading Football Club Test Goal line technology]
* [ Reading F.C. latest news]

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