Tag: Reading

The 200% Pre-Season Previews: Reading FC

At this time of the year, there are a lot of us trying to quantify the unquantifiable. The start of the new football season sees a frantic dash to predict and analyse, but precious few seek to factor in the variables that generate so much of the games appeal in the first place. It’s understandable, of course. Who, for example, might have predicted the knots in which Liverpool found themselves tied up in this time last year? Who would have stuck their neck on the line and taken a punt that Manchester United would score eight against Arsenal but concede six against Manchester City at Old Trafford, and who would have even have guessed the extent to which the latter of these results would turn out to be the one upon which the entire season would pivot? It’s all part of the show, of course, and nowhere is this more apparent than in form. It frequently feels as if good form can come from out of nowhere, and there can be so many factors which affect it that it can be difficult to assess which it was that was responsible. Two seasons ago, Reading FC were defeated in the Championship play-off final by Swansea City having finished in fifth place in the end of season table. As 2011 melted into 2012, though, this team pushed into a run of...

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Match Of The Past: Reading FC

Reading FC will start their second spell in the Premier League next season having emerged from the pack in the Championship to lift the title by a single, solitary point. This, however, is a club with a very lengthy history. Founded in 1871, Reading joined the Football League in 1920, but the amount of time that they spent in the lower divisions means that finding archive footage of them can be a little tricky. Our first three matches all come from the 1987/88 season. First up is a League Cup match against Chelsea from September 1987. This is a first leg match, and it’s worth bearing in mind when watching this that the club did get through after only losing the second leg by three goals to two. There was no League Cup glory for Reading that season – they were knocked out in the Fourth Round by Bradford City, but the team did get to Wembley that season in the Simod Cup, the competition created to fill the void left by the post-Heysel ban on English clubs in Europe. They had already beaten Queens Park Rangers, Oxford United, Nottingham Forest and Bradford City by the time that they reached their semi-final match against Coventry City and, having got through that the final at Wembley attracted a crowd of 61,470 people. Our next match is from the following season,...

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Match Of The Week: Reading 3-0 West Ham United

The last week or so in the Championship have acted as a sudden reminder to anyone who may have thought that the two automatic promotion places might already have been sewn up. Southampton’s stunning start to the season has seen them ascend to the top of the table with West Ham United, relegated from the Premier League at the end of last season, clinging onto their coat-tails in second place. Last weekend, however, both clubs stumbled. Southampton fell to a single goal defeat at loanee-plumpened Doncaster Rovers, while West Ham were beaten at home by Burnley. This weekend, there was a repeat of this stutter, with Southampton requiring a stoppage-time equaliser to rescue a point at home against Blackpool, while West Ham fell to a surprisingly comprehensive defeat  at Reading. Nobody at West Ham United needs to be reminded of the importance to the club of a quick return to the Premier League and, while he continues to have his critics, Sam Allardyce has thus far managed to fulfil his remit at Upton Park. His team has been a lesson in footballing obduracy so far this season, seldom setting the division alight but grinding out win after win – very much as we might have expected from Allardyce. Last weekend’s defeat against Burnley, however, was a shock to the system the jitters continued yesterday afternoon against a Reading side...

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Those We Have Lost: Elm Park, Reading FC

The next in our series on the lost homes of British football comes from Reading, where Reading FC left Elm Park for The Madejski Stadium in 1998. Our thanks go to Rob Langham from the excellent The Two Unfortunates, for this story of the history and memories from Elm Park. We are still very much looking out for submissions on this subject, by the way. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a complete base of tributes, written by fans, to grounds that we have lost? If you are interested, there is a list of the clubs that we have already covered here – drop us a line if you would like to add your club. In the first edition of Simon Inglis’s seminal study of football stadia, The Football Grounds of England and Wales (later republished as The Football Grounds of Britain), he describes Elm Park as “perhaps the least interesting ground in the league”. By the second, and based largely on the judicious application of a lick or two of paint, he had revised this opinion. While there remain some that wish that time had stood still in football (and this is usually when they were twenty or thirty years younger than they are now), this doesn’t apply to all of us. For sure, among fans who are forced to choose between the pluses and minuses of the...

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The Twohundredpercent Play-Off Jamboree: Reading 2-4 Swansea City

Swansea City stand firm as an example of how much the fortunes of a football club can change in the space of just a decade. They had been promoted from Division Three (now League Two) at the end of the 1999/2000 season, but tumbled straight back down into it a year later, and this was only the beginning of their problems. The following season, they finished fifth from bottom of the entire Football League and at the end of the 2002/03 season, they managed to haul themselves out of the relegation places with wins in their final two league matches against Rochdale and Hull City. Eight years on from that great escape, they have managed one in the opposite direction. Swansea City will start next season as the first Welsh club to play in the Premier League and the first Welsh club to play in the top division of the English league system since they were relegated from it in 1983. Reading have been here before, though their supporters may choose to forget about their previous appearance in the final of the play-offs for a place in the Premier League. In 1995, they led by two goals against Bolton Wanderers before losing 4-3 in extra-time, and lost in the semi-finals two years ago and in 2003. They made it into the Premier League as champions in 2006 and lasted...

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