Tonight…I’m a rock ‘n’ roll star

Not to be confused with the Reading PhilliesThere comes a moment in every team’s development that is a now-or-never moment. It’s that time when they say, “Enough is enough, we have never been in the Premiership and that’s NOT cool”. That time for Reading has come, that time is now.

For a second there, we did actually wonder whether Reading Football Club would ever make it out of second or third or even fourth tier football. But they did, through sheer guts and perseverance plus a great chairman (John Madejski) and an even greater manager (Steve Coppell). Today they stand on the threshold of greatness. There are already murmurings about who will stay and who will go, who will play against the greats and who will be cut loose. But do not fear, we will all be there. The Royals are going up and taking us all with them.

Reading have traveled quite a long road to get here. No season was more heartbreaking than 1994-95 when in the final of the Division One play-offs at Wembley Stadium we lost 4-3 to Bolton in extra time after being 2-0 up at the break. Here are few other things you need to know about Reading Football Club:

• Founded: 1871 (exactly 100 years before I was born)
• Record defeat: 18-0 (first round of 1894 FA Cup against Preston North End)
• Record victory: 10-2 (against Crystal Palace in September 1946)
• Best FA Cup run: Semi-finals in 1927, lost 3-0 to eventual winners Cardiff City
• First official stadium: Elm Park in 1896 (where I watched my one-and-only Reading game)
• Worst season: 1970-71, relegated to Division Four (I was born in 1971)
• Most memorable player name: Goalkeeper Steve Death who once held the club record for most first team appearances (536 from 1969-82)
• Scariest season: 1982-83, Reading FC almost disappears, fighting off a merger with rivals Oxford United and avoiding the sale of Elm Park
• Club points record: 94
• Largest crowd to watch a Reading game: 61,470 (1988 Simod Cup Final)
• Most valuable purchase: Leroy Lita (2005, £1 million)
• Most valuable sale: Shaka Hislop (1995, £1.5 million)
• Reading FC home: £50-million, 24,200-seat Madejski Stadium, named Europe’s Best Mid-Sized Arena by ESPN

So join me in celebrating the club’s first foray into the big time, raise your glasses to promotion and get ready to witness the birth of a new Premiership club – those blue-hooped wonders, those magnificent Biscuitmen…..The Reading Royals.

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