Reading F.C.

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Reading
Reading FC.svg
Full name Reading Football Club
Nickname(s) The Royals
Founded 1871; 143 years ago (1871)
Ground Madejski Stadium
Reading
Ground Capacity 24,161[1]
Chairman Sir John Madejski
Manager Nigel Adkins
League The Championship
2013–14 The Championship, 7th
Website Club home page
Current season

Reading Football Club (Listeni/ˈrɛdɪŋ/ RED-ing) is an English professional football club, based in Reading, that plays in the Championship. The club competed in the 2012–13 Premier League season, having gained promotion at the end of the 2011–12 season, after winning the Championship. Reading is competing in the Championship again this season having been relegated after one year back in the top flight.

Reading are nicknamed The Royals, due to Reading's location in the Royal County of Berkshire, though they were previously known as The Biscuitmen, due to the town's association with Huntley & Palmers. Established in 1871, the club is one of the oldest teams in England, but did not join The Football League until 1920, and had never played in the top tier of English football league system before the 2006–07 season.

The club played at Elm Park for 102 years between 1896 to 1998. The club moved in 1998 to the new Madejski Stadium, which is named after the club's chairman Sir John Madejski.

The club holds the record for the number of successive league wins at the start of a season, with a total of 13 wins at the start of the 1985–86 Third Division campaign and also the record for the number of points gained in a professional league season with 106 points in the 2005–06 Football League Championship campaign. Reading finished eighth in their first ever season as a top flight club.

History[edit]

Reading were formed on 25 December 1871, following a public meeting at the Bridge Street Rooms organised by the future club secretary Joseph Edward Sydenham.[2][3] The early matches were played at Reading Recreation Ground, and later the club held fixtures at Reading Cricket Ground, Coley Park and Caversham Cricket Ground.[2] 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.[4] In 1913 Reading had a successful tour of Italy, prompting the leading sports newspaper Corriere della Sera to write "without doubt, Reading FC are the finest foreign team seen in Italy."[5]

The team from the 1926–27 season

Reading were elected to the Football League Third Division South of the Football League in 1920. Reading's best performance in the FA Cup came in 1926–27 when they lost to eventual winners Cardiff City at Wolverhampton in the semi-final. Reading lost their place in Division Two in May 1931, and remained in Third Division South until the outbreak of World War II. The club won the Southern Section Cup, beating Bristol City in the two-legged final in 1938, and when taking part in the regional London War League and Cup competitions, gained another honour by beating Brentford in the London War Cup Final of 1941 by 3–2 at Stamford Bridge.

When League football resumed after the war, Reading quickly came to prominence once again. The club's record victory, 10–2 versus Crystal Palace, was recorded in September 1946, and Reading twice finished runners-up in the Third (South), in 1948–49 and 1951–52, but they were denied a return to Division Two as only the champions were promoted.[2] 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.

The appointment of Mark McGhee as player-manager, shortly after the takeover by John Madejski, in 1991 saw Reading move forward.[6] They were crowned champions of the new Division Two in 1994. 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. In 1995 Reading had eased past Tranmere Rovers in the play-off semi-finals and looked to have booked their place in the Premier League only to lose against Bolton Wanderers in the final. 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 last ever competitive match played at Elm Park between Reading and Norwich City in May 1998

1998 also saw Reading move into the new 24,200 all-seater Madejski Stadium, named after chairman, John Madejski. 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. The club finished third in 2000–01 qualifying for the play-offs, losing 2–3 in the final against Walsall at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.[7] Reading returned to Division One for 2002–03 after finishing runners-up in Division Two. The following season they finished fourth in Division One and qualified for the play-offs, where they lost in the semi-final to Wolverhampton Wanderers. Alan Pardew moved to West Ham United[8] the following October and was replaced by Steve Coppell.[9]

Reading won the 2005–06 Championship with a league record 106 points, scoring 99 goals and losing only twice.[10] Reading were promoted to English football's top division for the first time in their history. The 2006–07 season saw Reading make their first appearance in the top flight of English football. Reading defied pre-season predictions of relegation to finish the season in eighth place with 55 points.[11] Reading turned down the chance to play in the UEFA Intertoto Cup.[12] In the run up to their second season in the Premier League, Reading took part in the 2007 Peace Cup in South Korea.[13] This second season was less successful and Reading were relegated back to the Championship.[14]

Reading started the 2008–09 season with a 15 match unbeaten home run. They finished fourth and qualify for the play-offs,[15] where they lost to Burnley in the semi-final. Manager Steve Coppell resigned just hours after the game,[16] and was replaced by Brendan Rodgers.[17] Rodgers left the club by mutual consent on 16 December 2009 and Brian McDermott made caretaker manager the same day.[18] In the 2010–11 FA Cup, Reading reached the quarter-final, where they lost 1–0 to Manchester City at the City of Manchester Stadium,[19] Reading eventually finished 5th in the Championship to qualify for the division's play-offs.[20] After beating Cardiff City in the semi-finals they lost 4–2 to Swansea City in the final at Wembley Stadium.[21][22] In the 2011–12 season a streak of good form in the second half of the season, ensured promotion to the Premier League on 17 April 2012 with 1–0 home win against Nottingham Forest.[23]

McDermott led Reading to their first Premier League win of the 2012–13 season on 17 November 2012 at the eleventh attempt, defeating Everton 2–1 at home.[24] On the 11 March 2013, McDermott left his position at Reading.[25]

Crest and colours[edit]

Reading F.C. crest (1987–96)

The first crest to appear on a Reading kit was in 1953, it featured just the letter "R". There was no crest seen again until 1981 when there was a crest featuring three trees and the rivers Thames and Kennet, this only lasted two seasons. From 1987–96 the crest used the new kit colours of yellow, sky blue, royal blue and white.[26] In 1995 chairman Sir John Madejski thought it was important that the club moved with the times saying "I know some traditionalists will say we should keep the old badge but they should bear in mind the need to move forward." This crest only lasted from 1996–98 when the club moved to the new Madejski Stadium.[27] The current crest was first seen on the kits for the 1998–99 season.[26] It is based on the club colours, blue and white, a crown representing royal sovereignty for the County of Berkshire and an image of Reading's most famous landmark, the Maiwand Lion.[28]

A change from 1965 to 1969 saw Reading run out in sky blue[26]

In 1871, at the formation of the Club, Reading did play in hoops. This lasted for only a few years, and upon entering the Southern Football League in 1894 the club was playing in vertical stripes – possibly so they did not clash with other teams who were already in the Southern League and wore hoops. Reading then reverted to hoops until the beginning of the Second World War, because numbering of shirts became compulsory (in 1939), and the numbers were easier to see against a hooped background. Since then the club have had several more changes. In the mid-1960s they changed the shirts to sky blue, following the fashion introduced by Coventry City. That remained until 1969, when they returned to hoops under the orders of manager of Jack Mansell.[26] Reading have remained in a variety of hooped shirts ever since, apart from the mid-1980s when they played in blue and white panels before hoops returned in 1992.[29]

Stadiums[edit]

Main articles: Elm Park and Madejski Stadium

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).

Elm Park was Reading's stadium for 102 years, pictured in 1981

In 1889, Reading were unable to continue playing at Coley Park as W B Monck (the local squire) no longer allowed football due to "rowdyism [by] the rougher elements".[30] With club membership exceeding 300 by the time the club went professional in 1895, Reading required a proper ground. A meeting the following year determined that funding would be difficult.[30] £20 was donated by J C Fidler, on the proviso that "no liquors were to be sold" on site.[30] The rest of the cost was financed through donations by wealthy supporters, as well as one large individual donation.[31] A former gravel pit in West Reading was identified as the site.[32] The first game at Elm Park was held on 5 September 1896 between Reading and A Roston Bourke's XI. The visitors were a scratch team from Holloway College.[33] £44 was taken on the gate, with an attendance of approximately 2,500.[31]

In 1908, the club's annual general meeting proposed moving to a new ground near Reading railway station. A board meeting the following year decided that the move would not be possible, as "there was no chance of a move to the ground near to the GWR railway stations due to the actions of the Great Western Railway".[33]

The Madejski Stadium has been Reading's home ground since 1998

In 1994, the Taylor Report made all-seater stadiums compulsory in the top two divisions (the Premier League and the first division). Reading were champions of the second division in 1994, and were promoted to the first division. Reading became subject to the Taylor requirements, though converting Elm Park to an all-seater stadium would have been impractical.[33] Instead, a location in Smallmead (to the south of the town) was identified as the site for a new stadium.[33] The former council landfill site was bought for £1, with further conditions that the development of the stadium would include part-funding of the A33 relief road.[34] Expansion of the club's home would also allow alternative commercial ventures (particularly leisure facilities) and shared use with other teams (such as rugby union clubs Richmond and London Irish).[34] The last competitive match at Elm Park took place on 3 May 1998 against Norwich City, with Reading losing 1–0.[35] Reading began the 1998–99 season at the Madejski Stadium.[33] It was opened on 22 August 1998 when Luton Town were beaten 3–0. The stadium cost more than £50m to build.[36] For the first time in their history, Reading Football Club participated in the Premier League in the 2006–07 season. As a result of the sell-out crowds for their first few fixtures of the season, the club announced their intention, in October 2006,[37] to make a planning application to extend the ground to between 37,000 to 38,000 seats. The application was made on 24 January 2007, proposing initially the extension of the East Stand with a further 6,000 seats (raising capacity to around 30,000) and subsequently extension of the North and South Stands to reach the full proposed capacity.[38] On Thursday 24 May 2007 it was announced that planning permission had been granted to extend the stadium to a capacity of 36,900.[39] Reading have made plans for a new training ground at Bearwood Golf Club to replace Hogwood park their current training facility.

Support[edit]

Supporters at a Reading match at Elm Park in 1913

In 2001, Reading became the first football club to register their fans as an official member of their squad, giving the "player" registered with squad number 13 as 'Reading Fans'.[40][41]

Rivalries[edit]

See also: M4 derby

Before going out of business in 1992, Aldershot F.C. were Reading's biggest rivals.[42][43] There was a strong rift between the two sets of fans, with fighting between fans occurring on several occasions. Strong feelings remain between fans of Reading and fans of Aldershot Town, the refounded club in Aldershot. With Aldershot Town rejoining the league in 2008, it remains to be seen whether this traditional rivalry will be re-established. Since Aldershot's exile, Reading's main local rivalries have been with Oxford United and Swindon Town. When the three teams had shared a division, their rivalry was referred to as the "Didcot Triangle".[44][45] However, the rivalry between Oxford and Swindon is stronger than between either of the two and Reading, largely due to them both spending their recent history in lower divisions than Reading, and spending their previous history in higher divisions than Reading.[46] In 2012, a small survey showed that Reading's main rivals were Aldershot Town, followed by Swindon Town and Oxford United.[47]

Sponsorship[edit]

Period Kit manufacturer Shirt sponsor
1976–77 Umbro none
1977–81 Bukta
1981–82 none
1982–83 Reading Chronicle
1983–84 Umbro Radio 210
1984–89 Patrick Courage
1989–90 Matchwinner
1990–92 HAT Painting
1992–93 Brooks Auto Trader
1993–96 Pelada
1996–99 Mizuno
1999–2001 Westcoast
2001–04 Kit@
2004–05 Puma
2005–08 Kyocera
2008–13 Waitrose[48]

Ownership and finances[edit]

On 21 January 2012, it was announced that John Madejski planned to sell 51% of the club to Thames Sport Investment led by Russian-born Anton Zingarevich[49] which was eventually completed on 29 May 2012.[50][51]

Records and statistics[edit]

Reading's progress through the English football league system from 1920 to present.

Reading hold the record for the number of successive league wins at the start of a season, with a total of 13 wins at the start of the 1985–86 Third Division campaign[52] and also the record for the number of points gained in a professional league season with 106 points in the 2005–06 Football League Championship campaign.[53] Reading finished champions of their division on both of these occasions.[52][54]

The club's largest win was a 10–2 victory over Crystal Palace on 4 September 1946 in the Football League Third Division South.[52] Reading's heaviest loss was an 18–0 defeat against Preston North End in the FA Cup 1st round on 27 January 1894.[52] Reading have lost the two highest scoring matches in the history of the Premier League; Portsmouth 7 Reading 4 on 29 September 2007 and Tottenham Hotspur 6 Reading 4 on 29 December 2007, as well as losing the highest scoring League Cup game, Reading 5 Arsenal 7 on 30 October 2012.

The player with the most league appearances is Martin Hicks with a total of 500 from 1978 to 1991.[52] The most capped player is Kevin Doyle, who earned 26 for Ireland while at the club.[52][55] The most league goals in total and in a season are held by Ronnie Blackman with 158 from 1947 to 1954 and 39 in 1951–52 respectively.[52] The player with the most league goals in a game is Arthur Bacon with 6 against Stoke City in 1930–31.[52] The first Reading-based player to play in the World Cup was Bobby Convey at the 2006 FIFA World Cup with the United States.[52] The record time for a goalkeeper not conceding a goal is held by Steve Death at 1103 minutes in 1978–79, which is a former English league record.[56]

Reading's highest attendance at Elm Park was in 1927, when 33,042 spectators watched Reading beat Brentford 1–0.[57] The highest attendance at the Madejski Stadium is 24,184 for the Premier League game with Everton on 17 November 2012.

The highest transfer fee received for a Reading player is the £6.6 million 1899 Hoffenheim paid for Gylfi Sigurdsson on 31 August 2010.[52][58] The most expensive player Reading have ever bought was Emerse Fae, who cost £2.5m from Nantes on 2 August 2007.[52][59] But the same fee of 2.5 million was later spent on Adrian Mariappa on 6 August 2012.

Players[edit]

As of 25 May 2014.[60]

First-team squad[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 Australia GK Adam Federici
2 Wales DF Chris Gunter
3 Republic of Ireland DF Stephen Kelly
4 Turkey MF Jem Karacan
5 Republic of Ireland DF Alex Pearce
7 Russia FW Pavel Pogrebnyak
10 Netherlands MF Royston Drenthe
12 Jamaica MF Garath McCleary
15 England DF Sean Morrison
16 England MF Hope Akpan
No. Position Player
19 Wales MF Hal Robson-Kanu
20 England MF Danny Guthrie
21 England GK Alex McCarthy
22 England FW Nick Blackman
23 United States MF Danny Williams
24 Jamaica DF Shaun Cummings
25 Wales MF Jake Taylor
31 Denmark GK Mikkel Andersen
35 England DF Michael Hector
37 England MF Jordan Obita

Under-21 squad[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
34 England DF Niall Keown
38 England MF Aaron Tshibola
39 England FW Craig Tanner
42 Scotland GK Jonathan Henly
43 England GK Daniel Lincoln
44 England FW Dominic Samuel
45 Australia MF Ryan Edwards
47 Republic of Ireland DF Pierce Sweeney
49 Republic of Ireland DF Sean Long
50 England DF Jake Cooper
51 England GK Stuart Moore
No. Position Player
53 Republic of Ireland DF Shane Griffin
England DF Robert Dickie
Scotland DF Dominic Hyam
Scotland DF George McLennan
England DF Nana Owusu
England MF Tariqe Fosu-Henry
Republic of Ireland MF Liam Kelly
England MF Aaron Kuhl
Republic of Ireland MF Conor Shaughnessy
England MF Jack Stacey

Notable players[edit]

In 1999 Reading F.C. commissioned a poll of the supporters' "Player of the Millennium", to determine the club's best ever player.[61] However, Reading's most successful period was winning promotion to the Premier League up until now. Therefore, many other notable players, such as Steve Sidwell, Shane Long and Gylfi Sigurdsson are not included in the poll.

Pos. Player
1 England Robin Friday
2 England Trevor Senior
3 England Steve Death
Trinidad and Tobago Shaka Hislop
5 England Phil Parkinson
6 England Alf Messer
7 Northern Ireland Jimmy Quinn
8 England Michael Gilkes
9 England Ronnie Blackman
10 England Martin Hicks

Player of the season[edit]

International players[edit]

Former players[edit]

Club officials[edit]

Board of Directors & Senior Club Staff

  • Chief Executive: Nigel Howe
  • Commercial Director: Ben Wells[62]
  • Club Secretary: Sue Hewett
  • Financial Controller: Bryan Stabler
  • Directors: Sir John Madejski (Chairman), Nigel Howe and Ian Wood-Smith[51]

Management team[63][64][65]

  • Director of Football: Nick Hammond
  • First Team Manager: Nigel Adkins
  • Assistant Manager: Andy Crosby
  • First Team Coach: Dean Wilkins
  • Goalkeeping Coach: Sal Bibbo
  • Head of Sports Science: Nick Harvey
  • First Team Sports Scientist: Tristan Baker
  • First Team Physio: Luke Anthony
  • Academy Manager: Eamonn Dolan
  • Assistant Academy Manager: David Dodds
  • Academy Development Manager: Lee Herron
  • Kit Manager: Selby Armstrong
  • Head of Scouting & Recruitment: Steve Head
  • First Team Head Scout: Steve Shorey
  • Masseur: Dan Buchanan
  • ProZone: Lucy Rushton

Managers[edit]

Womens team[edit]

Main article: Reading F.C. Women

In May 2006 Reading launched the Reading FC Women's team. They play in the FA Premier League Southern Division. From 2014 Reading FC Women have been granted to play in the FA Women's Super League 2.

Honours[edit]

For more details on this topic, see List of Reading F.C. records and statistics.
2006, 2012
1995 (runners-up)
1926, 1986, 1994
1932, 1935, 1949, 1952, 1994, 2002 (runners-up)
1979
1988
1940–41
1938
Semi-finalists 1927
Quarter Finalists 2010 2011
Quarter-finalists 1996, 1998
Winners 2013–14
  • Highest league finish:
Premier League 2007, 8th Place

Managerial[edit]

Affiliated clubs[edit]

References[edit]

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Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]