1929-30 Photo Album

A bit of old school colourisation in this fantastic little album, lovingly put together by a supporter 85 years ago. Another favourite item from my collection and a complete one-off. 1929-30 Photo Album.

 

1910-11 Postcard

This has long been my favourite postcard in the collection, and shows the team that were promoted back the the First Division of the Southern League after suffering relegation in 1909-10. Wigan fan George Chilvers has very kindly 'colourised' the photo for me, and I think he's done a fantastic job.

 

1927 Cartoon

The only time Reading have got beyond the sixth round of the FA Cup before this season was during the 1926-27 season, after a 3-1 win at Swansea. The Football Chronicle was published immediately after matches on a Saturday afternoon, and gave up to date results and reports. This illustration appeared the day of the Swansea match on March 5th, 1927, and shows the team engaging in a footballer's favourite pastime.

 

1900 Cigarette Card

I've been collecting Reading football memorabilia for nearly 30 years, but was unaware of this card until I saw it on Alan Jenkins' brilliant blog. Centre-half Johnny Holt signed from Everton in 1898 towards the end of his career, which had included nine appearances for the national team. His form was so impressive for us that he became the first Reading player to appear for England when he won his 10th and final cap in 1900.

 

1914 Postcard

In May 1914 Reading were invited to Amsterdam to play an exhibition match against a representative side made up of local players as part of celebrations to open a new sports stadium. The English professionals were far too good for their amateur opponents, who were named Zwaluwen (Swallows), and ran out 10-2 winners. Click here for more.

 

1895-96 Team Photo

This appears to be a newspaper insert, though I don't know the source, and comes courtesy of David Downs. This period was a time of huge change for Reading FC, as the club joined the Southern League, adopted professionalism, and moved to their new home at Elm Park, all between 1894 and 1896. I'm very keen the find team photos for the seasons 1893-94 and 1899-1900, so any assistance would be welcome!

 

1893-94 Medal

I was lucky enough to get hold of this medal, which was awarded to Reading inside-forward Harry Read, thanks to a tip-off from Brian Webb. 'Division VIII' referred to a group of teams in the FA Cup qualifying games. Clubs were put together in groups of 16 on a regional basis, and they played a mini knockout series with the winner qualifying for the first round proper. We won our division after beating Swindon 2-0 in the final game, which prompted great celebrations in Reading. A large crowd gathered at the station to welcome the team home, and the players were carried shoulder high through the streets amid great jubilation. In this context you can understand the reason why the club issued the medals. In the first round proper, Reading suffered their record defeat in losing 18-0 at Preston! There were, however, genuine mitigating circumstances, but that's a story for another day...

 

1961-62 Team Photo

This is one of a number of team photos I've added and comes courtesy of my friend, club historian David Downs. There are a few new photos and some that upgrade others. Working backwards the first gap is 1899-1900 - and I know one exists, so please let me know if you have a copy!

 

2005-06 Poster

A glossy A3 sized poster given away with the paper at the end of our record breaking first Championship winning promotion season. 2005-06 Gallery.

 

1914 Newspaper Photo

Although Reading can count games against Oxford, Aldershot and Wycombe as local derbies, our traditional rivals were Swindon. The teams met in the newly formed Southern League's opening fixture in 1894 which we won 4-3. According to this report, in the 1914 match the supporters exchanged 'good humoured chaff''- not a phrase you'd expect to hear today! The teams haven't played for several years, but it looks increasingly likely that old rivalries will be resumed soon.

 

1927 Newspapers

The Football Chronicle was one of many papers available up and down the country soon after the final whistle had sounded on a Saturday afternoon, giving reports and results in the days before TV and radio. These were kindly given to me by a work colleague many years ago, and cover Reading's run to the FA Cup semi-final. They form part of a gallery featuring the 1926-27 cup run here.

 

1983-84 Team Photo

After a traumatic season which saw the club nearly go out of business and suffer relegation from the Third Division, Reading bounced back with a third place finish in the Fourth Division. Popular manager Maurice Evans was controversially replaced by his assistant Ian Branfoot in January 1984, but the decision was vindicated as he led the team to Division Two by 1986. Striker Trevor Senior was signed from Portsmouth for just £35,000, and ended the season with a club record 41 goals.

 

1914 Newspaper Supplement

Reading had gained a reputation as cup fighters after beating First Division sides in the previous two seasons, so hopes were high for a decent run in the 1913-14 season. The first round saw them drawn away at Bradford Park Avenue, who the Biscuit boys had played a few years earlier in, bizarrely, the Southern League. Reading's hopes were crushed, however, as we fell to a 5-1 defeat, though that's not as bad a result as it first looks - Bradford PA were by then in Division Two and won promotion to the top flight that season.

 

1952 Photo

In the 1951-52 season, Reading and Plymouth were battling it out at the top of the Third Division (South) for the one promotion spot, and when the teams met at Elm Park in March, the gates were locked with over 28,000 inside the ground. The Biscuitmen won 2-0 to draw level on points, but an average end to the season meant we had to settle for second place. Players Gordon Brice (second left) and Maurice Edelston (right) are seen here outside their recently opened sports shop on the town's Oxford Road, in this photo from Reading Museum's Chronicle collection.

 

1946 Photo

Trainer Jack Oxberry oversees a training session in preparation for the first post-war season. This fantastic photo comes courtesy of Reading Museum's Chronicle collection, with hundreds of images now available online.

 

2011-12 Posters

Reading have used graphic design consultancy creamdesign for many years, and for this season they created a set of promotional posters based on classic trade cards. They were used in the Madejski Stadium's megastore to promote the new kit, and the six designs can be seen here.

 

1953-54 Team Photo

Although known for wearing hoops, Reading have in fact tried many different kit combinations over the years. From 1953 to 1955 we went for white shirts and blue shorts for the second time, the first being in 1898-99. Former player Jimmy Wallbanks, far left, returned to the club at the start of the season, and for the next 25 years was a loyal and popular servant, first as trainer and then physio. My thanks go to Royals fan Graham Bryant for the photo.

 

1913 Photo

The Reading XI line up in front of the goal at the Campo Sportivo Priocco, in the Italian town of Casale Monferrato, before the match against the local side A.S. Casale on the 14th May, 1913.

 

1913 Photo

Another picture from Reading's Italian tour, which I've placed in a gallery here. This shows the teams before the 2-1 defeat at Casale, the first time an Italian club had beaten English professionals. Although Reading were a Southern League outfit, it was still a major shock and was a big thing for Italian football, which was still in it's infancy at the time. One explanation put forward for the defeat was the narrowness of the pitch, which can clearly be seen here.

 

1985 Newspaper Supplement

'The Royals rarin' to kick off' - that's one way of putting it I suppose, as Reading won their first 13 league games of the season on the way to the Third Division title. Gallery from 1985-86.

 

1976 Newspaper Supplement

Published by the Reading Evening Post, this is taken from 'special' issued to celebrate the club's first promotion since, remarkably, 1926. The Royals achieved third place in the Fourth Division behind Graham Taylor's runaway champions Lincoln City, against whom the legendary Robin Friday is pictured.

 

1901 Newspaper Photo

Fantastic shot of the Reading team pictured in front of Elm Park's town end in playing formation (two full backs, three half backs and five forwards). A new record crowd of 14,417 packed the ground to see Reading robbed of a semi-final place as, with the score at 1-1, a Spurs defender saved a certain goal with his hands late in the game. Tottenham beat their Southern League rivals 3-0 in the replay and went on to become the only non-league club to lift the FA Cup.

 

1912 Newspaper Photos

A page from Lotinga's Weekly, an illustrated paper that ran from 1910 to 1914. I've seen a few of these that include montages of football matches, but this is the first that features Reading. This match at New Brompton, who changed their name to Gillingham in 1912, was a Southern League fixture that took place on Christmas Day 1911. I'd like to thank Vince Taylor for the scan.

 

2006 First Day Cover

Reading finally achieved top flight status with promotion to the Premier League in the 2005-06 season with a record 106 points, under the astute management of Steve Coppell. We followed that up with an eighth place finish in the Premier League, the club's best ever. Gallery of covers can be seen here.

1913 Newspaper Photo

The illustrated Italian newspaper La Stampa Sportiva featured the Reading team with the caption explaining that this is the English squad that will face the Italian national team in Turin on the 18th May.

 

1913 Newspaper Photo

Reading goalkeeper Dr Burnham gathers (or drops?) the ball during Reading's 2-0 win in the prestigious friendly against the Italian national team, on the 18th May in Turin. Dr Burnham was the only amateur in the squad, but was a useful member of the party as he was a fluent in Italian. The crowd looks on the thin side, and whilst the figure of 15,000 is doubtful, the stadium itself covered a vast area. The heat was such that 'all the lady spectators were provided with fans'.

 

1913 Newspaper Photo

Reading were invited to tour Italy in 1913 because of the link to former player Willy Garbutt, who by then was managing the country's oldest club, Genoa. They provided the Biscuit Boys with their first opponents, and we won 4-2. Five games were played in eight days, which produced four wins and just one defeat. Milan were beaten 5-0 and we ended the tour with a 2-0 win against the Italian national side - not many club team's can claim that! This is the Reading team before the Genoa game, and I think I've identified them correctly: Smith, Lofthouse, Burton, Willis, Hanney, Burnham, Stevens, Comrie, Bailey, Brown and Morris.

 

1996-97 Newspaper Supplement

The Trinity Mirror publishing group announced last week that several of their titles would continue as online editions only. This includes the Reading Post, which will continue online as Get Reading, and from my point of view this means no more pre-season/special pull-outs and squad photos, such as this example from 1996. See similar items here.

 

1926-27 Team Photo

The Reading team were pictured on the Elm Park pitch in the week before the FA Cup fifth round clash against Brentford in February 1927. The backdrop is the recently completed Norfolk Road stand, which replaced the rickety 1896 original structure. A crowd of 33,042, our highest ever home attendance, squeezed into the ground to see Frank Richardson score the only goal of the game for the Biscuitmen.

 

1898-99 Magazine Photo

Reading were the subject of a feature in the Golden Penny magazine, with photos including this shot of the team taken at Elm Park before the 1-0 win against the soon to be defunct Brighton United on March 4th 1899, which features the club's first England international, centre-half Johnny Holt. I'd like to thank Melanie Bishop of the Supporters Trust At Reading, who kindly sent me the scans.

 

1927-28 Postcard

A couple of years ago I decided to see how many team photos I could source, with the aim of covering as many seasons in our history as I could. I'm proud to have recently completed a run which now includes team pictures of every season from 1900 to present. Often the players' names are printed with the photo, but sometimes not - and this is a problem that can usually be solved by delving into the local newspaper archives. However, for some reason this photo did not appear in the press, so I've tried to identify them using other pictures. I think I've got the names except for two which frustratingly drew a blank! 

 

1986-87 Team Photo

Newly promoted Reading's big summer signing was winger Paul Canoville, who joined us from Chelsea for £60,000. He started superbly and looked like becoming a firm favourite when he suffered a knee injury after a horror tackle at Sunderland in October 1986. He attempted a comeback early the next season, but was sadly forced to quit league football at the age of just 25. Paul is top-right, back row here.

 

1904-05 Football Album

Taken from The Daily Graphic Football Album, this is another new picture to me and adds to my team photo collection. I've mentioned before about captain Herbert Smith not normally being around for the photo shoot - he is here, but only courtesy of an obvious cut-and-paste job!

 

1907 Newspaper Photo

Not a Reading match here, but this is the clearest image I've found featuring the covered terrace known as the 'chicken run'. Built next to the original stand in 1905, it provided extra covered accommodation for 1,500 supporters, and continued half way round the 'town' goal. The rickety structure was blown down when a storm hit the town at the end of 1925, which also badly damaged the stand. This was replaced with the familiar Norfolk Road stand which lasted until the Elm Park's demolition in 1998.

 

1985-86 Newspaper Photo

On this day 29 years ago, 12th October 1985, Reading achieved their twelfth win from the start of the season with a 2-0 victory at Newport County, beating Spurs' record set 25 years before. The Royals stretched the run to 13 the following week, setting a mark which stands as the best start of any club in English league history. A gallery of that season can be seen here

 

1972 Newspaper Supplement

An eight page special pull-out issued with the Reading Evening Post, which was kindly sent to me by Royals fan Cliff Austin. After beating non-league Blyth Spartans 6-1 in a third round replay, Reading faced reigning league and cup double winners Arsenal at Elm Park, one of my first live matches when I was nine years old. I saw a fantastic game and we were unfortunate not to earn a replay after a 2-1 defeat.

 

1905 Newspaper Photos

This set of photos was published on the 18th February, and shows action from the FA Cup 2nd round tie at Fulham. The game ended 0-0 as did the replay, with Fulham sneaking a third meeting 1-0 (none of your penalty shoot-out nonsense then). The two Southern League matches ended 0-0 and 2-0 to the Londoners, meaning that Reading failed to score in all five encounters that season. That fact is even more surprising when you consider the Biscuit Boys finished as runners-up in the league.

 

Newspaper Supplements/Pull-Outs

The Reading Evening Post and Reading Chronicle have always published team photos, and started issuing full or double page colour pictures from about the mid-eighties. I kept most of them along with pre-season and special pull-outs, but for various reasons some of these I missed. If you have anything not featured here that you would be willing to pass on to me, please get in touch!

 

1926-27 Caricatures

This cartoon was drawn by "Areff" in 1959, and features the famous Reading team that reached the FA Cup semi-final in 1927.

 

1907-08 Football Album

This page from The Daily Graphic Football Album, which was produced annually during the early part of the century, has been kindly sent to me by Jim Donnelly. The photo was used by tobacco firm Taddy & Co. in their series of 'Prominent Footballers' for the Reading sub-set of 15 in 1907. Well, the 14 players here plus captain Herbert Smith, who, as the only amateur in the team, rarely appeared in team photos as he had other things to occupy himself!

 

1967 Cartoon

Ron Fennell, aka "Areff'", contributed his wonderful cartoons to the Chronicle and later the Post during the latter part of the 20th century. This example, from the Reading Chronicle, depicts one of our best results of the sixties, when Third Division Reading dumped top flight West Brom out of the League Cup on a memorable night at Elm Park, in September 1967.

 

Steve Death

The legendary goalkeeper would have been 65 years old today. Steve played in my first ever Reading match when I was nine years old, was at Elm Park for the whole of my teenage years, and defines my early days of supporting Reading. He made 537 league and cup appearances for us between 1969 and 1982.

 

1892 Berks & Bucks Cup Winners

A contemporary newspaper account which perfectly sums up the excitement the game can bring, and this was undoubtedly the first example of 'football fever' to hit Reading.

Where'er we are, where'er we be, "Ta ra ra" is sung with glee; but never before has the popular refrain been chanted with such gusto as it was on Saturday, when Reading having beaten Wolverton the "Biscuit Boys" spontaneously chortled their interpretation as follows:- "Ta ra ra boom de ay, for Reading won the day", and so on and etcetera. And didn't they just give it voice, too! Rather! Why, they put so much into their singing as had the Reading players into their play, and from the hour the game ceased till long after midnight there was nothing but a bustle and a whirl, and a whirl and a bustle in the Reading camp, and what with repeated outbreaks of cheering, and outbursts of "Ta ra ra", Reading was kept alive until, oh, till far into the small hours, and methinks that such a display of feeling over a football match has never before been witnessed in the town of Reading.

 

1967 Newspaper Photo

Reading enjoyed a derby win at Swindon on 4th February thanks to this goal from George Harris. The winger had joined us from Watford in July 1966 and scored 25 goals in his first season, helping him to the Player of the Year award. He went one better with 26 the following season, meaning 51 goals in two years - impressive stats by anyone's standards, let alone a winger.

 

1900's Cigarette Cards

In the late 19th Century, tobacco firms realised that by giving away a picture card with a packet of cigarettes they could encourage brand loyalty, and people could collect sets of a particular subject. Given that the majority of smokers were men, cards were issued to reflect their interests, so sport, and football in particular, was well catered for. In those days photographs were not the norm in newspapers, so the cigarette card issues of the time serve as a valuable historical resource. Cigarette cards virtually died out with the outbreak of war in 1939, but they are very much the ancestors of the modern day cards and stickers issued by the like of Topps and Panini. Cigarette card gallery

 

1990-91 Newspaper Supplement

A lovely item issued by the Evening Post and part of a gallery of newspaper specials on this page. This was one of a few kit combinations the club tried around that period and you have to say there's no real identity with this. Thankfully Mark McGhee brought the hoops back in 1992 when he took over as player-manager.

 

1966-67 Magazine Photo

When this photo appeared in Soccer Star magazine on the 7th April 1967, Reading were firmly entrenched in mid-table of the Third Division. However, the very next day saw the team start a magnificent run which saw us win the final eight games of the season and eventually miss promotion by just two points after finishing fourth. The change in fortune was due in no small part to the goals of George Harris and a new signing, a certain Roger Smee.

 

1988 Newspaper Specials

Both local papers issued special supplements in the lead up to the Reading's first appearance at Wembley Stadium for the Simod Cup final, and they form part of my collection of that special day which can be seen here.

 

1937-38 Team Photo

This is the last season that Reading played in stripes, but they hinted at the change in style with the fetching hooped socks. This photo replaces a poor version in the Team Groups section, which now numbers over 160.

 

1901-02 Football Album

I've finally found a photo from this season, which means this site now shows team pictures for every season stretching from 1900 to 2014. If this team look a bit of a handful, it's because they were - inside-left Henry Griffiths (second right, middle row) was convicted of being drunk and disorderly (after an incident at the club's own social club!) and full-back Tommy Clinch (far right, top row) was banned for six months by the FA for fighting. From the extremely scarce Golden Penny Football Album.