1922 Newspaper Photos

Reading faced Brighton in an end of season charity match for a few years in the early twenties, and in this instnce the game ended in a 1-1 draw. The trophy was presented to the visitors, after a toss of the coin decided that they take possession for the first six months!

 

1965-66 Magazine Photo

Reading fans had a bit of a shock when their team lined up in an all sky blue kit, which was introduced by manager Roy Bentley that season. It lasted for four seasons until new boss Jack Mansell brought back the hoops in 1969. Worse to stomach for supporters was losing at home and away to both Oxford and Swindon.

 

1929-30 Team Photo

Collector Neil Durnin has kindly sent me this superb picture, which appeared in Aston Villa's programme for a cup-tie against Reading. I'm pretty certain that the photo itself was taken at Molineux, and as this is the team that played at Wolves earlier that season I'm confident in dating it as 9th September 1929.

 

1920 Newspaper Supplement

Superbly presented and beautifully done, this shows the Reading players before a pre-season trial match prior to our first season in the Football League. The photo was taken in the usual spot alongside the original Norfolk Road stand.

 

1879 Team Photo 

The Reading players proudly pose with the Berks and Bucks Cup, which was the first trophy the club ever won. Wallingford and Maidenhead were beaten on the way to the final, where Marlow were overcome by a single goal. This was the result of a 'scrimmage', as was often reported in the early days of football. Captain Henry Rogers (left, holding ball) sadly died during a match the following season at the age of just 25. This amazing photo shows the team sporting a kit that I was not previously aware of.

 

1929-30 Photo Album

A collection of 28 newspaper photos which have been hand coloured and very neatly assembled in a small home made book. A superb item and something that I can safely say is unique! The full album can be seen here.

 

1998 Photos

I've added a few pictures here including Scott Howie, Stuart Gray and Grant Brebner, who had the distinction of scoring the first ever goal at the Madejski Stadium. I'm looking to add player photos, so if you have any for sale or would be willing to copy them for me, I'd love to here from you!

 

1922 Newspaper Photo

It would be fair to say that the 1922-23 season was a tough one for both players and supporters. The team finished fourth from bottom in Division Three (South) and scored just 36 goals in 42 games. The first win didn't come until the ninth game, 2-1 against Charlton, and the players celebrated by having their photo taken!

 

1935 Newspaper Photo

Reading finished second in the Third Division (South) table in 1934-35 and went through the season unbeaten at Elm Park in the league - but they lost by the only goal at home to First Division Arsenal in the fifth round of the FA Cup in front of 30,621 people, which is the ground's second highest ever attendance.


1906 Newspaper Souvenir

The Reading Standard produced a couple of illustrated specials covering events in the town during the Edwardian period, which included this page dedicated to Reading's popular captain Herbert Smith. The England international full back was presented with a silver salver and canteen of cutlery in November 1906, in recognition of his service to the club. He was a 'sportsman and an amateur of the highest type' and was 'idolised by the players at his club'.

 

1913 Newspaper Photo

Reading are about to kick-off in a cup-tie against Stoke at Elm Park, which the home team won by three goals to nil. Captain Jack Smith was to become our first player-manager in 1920 with only moderate success and left the club in 1922 to run his pub, the Saracen's Head.

 

1951-52 Photo

This wonderful photo comes courtesy of Michael Dore and his sister Silvia, who is among this group of supporters on an away trip to see Ted Drake's Reading. They're not sure of the date, but I think it makes sense that it was this season, when the Biscuitmen were pushing hard for promotion.

 

1976 Photo

The Reading players at Elm Park before the final game of the 1975-76 season, which was won by three goals to one against Crewe. The team had secured the club's first promotion in fifty years three days earlier, with a 2-2 draw at Cambridge.

 

1963 Photo

Popular manager Harry Johnston had an amicable split with Reading after it was decided his contract was not to be renewed. He agreed to stay on until a replacement was found and the club threw a leaving party, with captain Johnny Walker presenting him with a golf trolley and a clock. The mutual affection between Harry and his players is clear in this wonderful photo, which was sent to me by Graham Bryant, via ex-player David Grant.

 

1994-95 Magazine Photo

The Royals had won the Division 2 title in 1993-94 and almost brought top flight football to Berkshire for the first time after finishing runners-up in Division 1. But because the Premier League were reducing it's numbers, only the champions were promoted and we had to try our luck in the play-offs. And we all know how that ended...

 

1976-77 Newspaper Supplement

From an Evening Post special published in August 1976, new signing Paul Bennett, who went on to captain the Division 4 title winning side in 1979, is pictured on the left. This is part of a gallery of newspaper 'specials' here.

 

1984-85 Magazine Photo

The Royals gave a glimpse of what was to come the following season when they went on a 9 match unbeaten run, including 7 wins. The partnership of Trevor Senior and Dean Horrix, surely the most popular front two in our history, scored an impressive 21 goals during that run and amassed 47 in total.

 

1906 Book Page

Taken from 'The Book of Football', this page includes popular forward Jimmy Long, who spent two seasons with the Biscuitmen from 1904 to 1906. He enjoyed a great day on New Year's Eve 1904, when he scored four goals against Portsmouth in the Southern League at Elm Park.

 

1972 Photo

Superb picture of the team celebrating Barry Wagstaff's equalizer against Arsenal in the FA Cup fourth round. The Gunners went on to win 2-1, but Fourth Division Reading put up a brilliant display against the reigning league and cup double winners. This was the last occasion that we had a home attendance of over 25,000. Thanks to Alan Bunce at Get Reading for the photo.

 

1951 Photo

Prolific centre forward Ron Blackman sends in a powerful header during the 1-1 draw at Nottingham Forest in January 1951. Ron joined the Biscuit boys in 1947 and scored an impressive 167 goals in just 240 games, a record only beaten by Trevor Senior. As ever, the club was cash-strapped and Blackman was sold to Forest for £8,000 in 1954.

 

1972-73 Team Photo

I was sad to learn that former Reading striker Terry Bell has passed away at the age of 69. He was signed by manager Jack Mansell in 1969 for £8,000 from Hartlepool and scored 21 goals in 98 games. Terry was popular with the fans and was voted 'Player of the Season' in 1970-71, a trick he repeated whilst with Aldershot in 1976-77. He was part of the Reading squad for my first season as a supporter at Elm Park and is centre of the front row here.

 

1908 Newspaper Souvenir

Elm Park is unrecognisable from the ground that closed 90 years later, with the only reference point being the ever present Spread Eagle public house, which dominates the background here. This is taken from a really superb illustrated souvenir of the town produced by the Reading Standard. Reading thrashed Norwich 7-1 in a Southern League fixture.

 

1998 Photo

It's amazing how evocative a photograph can be. This took me straight back to the early seventies, back to my early years as a supporter. Back to the smell of Bovril. And chips. And Players no.6. And other things I don't care to mention. There was always some bloke with a transistor radio, who I stuck close to so I could hear the other results. The photo comes courtesy of Royals fan Baz Greenaway and is part of a new galley which features unusual or rare images.

 

2005-06 Team Photo

A pre-season shot of Reading's '106' team. After losing the first game of the season against Plymouth, the Royals went on an unbelievable 33 match unbeaten run, and lost just two out of 46 in total. The Championship title was won with an all-time record points total, with promotion secured as early as March. This is one of over 150 team photos on this site, with (almost) all of them named.

 

1967-68 Photo

Supporters at Reading Station en route to Maine Road, Manchester, in January 1968 for an FA Cup third round tie. The Biscuitmen put up a grand display in a no-score draw, but City thrashed Reading 7-0 just four days later in the replay at Elm Park, in front of more than 25,000. My thanks go to Alan Bunce at Get Reading for the photo.

 

1964-65 Team Photo

As Third Division Reading prepared to take on top-flight Burnley in the fourth round of the FA Cup, the players were pictured at Elm Park. The club were hoping for a 25,000 plus crowd, but in the event just under 18,000 attended to witness a creditable performance by the Biscuitmen in a 1-1 draw, though we lost the replay 1-0. I'd like to thank my friend Dave Goss for the photo.


1920 Cigarette Card

Over 2,000 cards were issued by Godfrey Phillips under their 'Pinnace' brand of cigarettes in the early twenties (details of which can be seen here) and team photos were available if you sent in 100 of the small player cards. One of these was given away with packets of ten cigarettes, meaning you'd have to smoke 1,000 to earn a team card! So it's hardly surprising that these are very scarce, and I'd like to thank Matt Stephens for sending me this photo.

 

1970 Photo

The early part of 1970 was a great time to be a Reading fan. The team were riding high near the top of Division Three playing a brand of high scoring, pass and move football rarely seen at that level under manager Jack Mansell. The team eventually finished 8th, but were top scorers in the Football League and ended the season with an 8-0 thrashing of Southport. The mood of optimism is perfectly captured in this photo, taken at a snow covered Elm Park. It's part of a superb set of pictures uncovered by Get Reading's Alan Bunce in the Evening Post archives.

 

1967-68 Magazine Photo

Squad photo that includes future chairman Roger Smee, who scored 17 goals in 66 games for us in two spells between 1966 and 1973. After retiring from football Roger became chairman of property group Rockfort and in 1983 did as much as anyone to save Reading Football Club from Robert Maxwell's plan for the proposed merger with Oxford United, after which he took over as club chairman.

 

1905 Newspaper Supplement

The 'Reading Standard' first published action photos this season, though this was by no means a regular thing then. This superb set of pictures appeared after the season's opening game at Elm Park, a 1-1 draw with Spurs, and was printed on much higher grade paper than the usual poor quality newspaper stock. Part of a new gallery of Newspaper Supplements.

 

1930 Topical Times

Nice little booklet that featured inside right Frank Eaton. He scored 15 goals for Reading in the 1930-31 season but we were relegated from Division Two and, according to Alan Sedunary's 'Royals Remembered', Frank was 'the butt of jokes and ribald remarks one would expect from a third rate comedian, not so called sportsmen'.

 

1929 Newspaper Photo

Superb panoramic view of Elm Park, taken from the corner of the Tilehurst End and the Southbank. Press photographers were banned from the ground during match days at this time, so I'm assuming it was taken from over the fence!

 

1987 Newspaper Special

The Royals played Arsenal in the FA Cup Third Round in January 1987, losing 3-1 at Elm Park. Although we lost, there was always something special about welcoming a big club to the old ground, and I can still remember Trevor Senior's brilliant headed equaliser in front of an ecstatic Tilehurst End and Jerry Williams roasting Kenny Sansom (not literally mind). I'm adding lots of interesting (at least to me!) newspaper supplements etc.

 

1922 Newspaper Photo

A fantastic picture of the team, officials and supporters en route to Northampton in January 1922. I'm a huge fan of the American prohibition-era drama 'Boardwalk Empire' and this photo could have come straight out of it! A couple of well known faces here are Jack Smith (far left) and Bert Eggo (fourth right, front).

 

1947 Photo

Ex-Arsenal centre-forward Ted Drake is shown around Elm Park after replacing Joe Edelston as manager in the Summer of 1947. He led Reading to a couple of runners-up finishes in Division Three (South), before leaving for Chelsea 1952 and leading them to the League title in 1955.

 

1975-76 Newspaper Supplement

Taken from the special 'Up, Up and Hooray!', this page shows the Royals celebrating the club's first promotion for fifty years under popular manager Charlie Hurley, after the 2-2 draw at Cambridge.

 

1925-26 Newspaper Supplement

The Reading squad pictured before the pre-season trial match. The Biscuit Boys went on to win the Third Division (South) title that season, five years after joining the Football League. Presented with the 'Daily News', this supplement is not in the best condition, but is a nice item and a photo I hadn't seen before.

 

1949 Photo

Ground improvements at Elm Park as concrete terracing is constructed at the Town End, which later catered exclusively for away supporters, not something that was not deemed necessary then.

 

1904-05 Illustrations

Taken from the 'Reading Standard' and published in August 1904, the interesting thing for me is that goalkeeper Naisby is pictured wearing a normal outfield shirt compared to the team photo below where he's in a keeper's jersey. It wasn't an actual requirement until 1909, but most teams did it on their own initiative before that.

 

1904-05 Postcard

Solly Joel is a well-known name in Reading due to the fact that he donated land to the town in 1927, which was named Sol Joel Park. I was intrigued though as to why he was included in a Reading team photo and while trying to find connections I discovered that he donated 100 guineas to the club funds, which was no small sum then. For the Southern League match in January 1905 against Spurs, Mr Joel attended along with several friends as guests of the club. The postmark says the card was posted on 6th February that year and this is the team that lined-up vs Tottenham on 28th January 1905, so I can say for certain that this photo was taken before that match!

 

1955 Photo

New Reading manager Harry Johnston is introduced to Elm Park by Chairman Jimmy Carter. Johnston spent his entire playing career with Blackpool and captained the to FA Cup glory in the 1953 'Mathews Final'. He spent just over seven years in charge of us before being replaced by Roy Bentley in January 1963.

 

1993 Photo

A superb aerial shot of our former home, which appeared in a calendar of views of Reading from above. Me and my brothers had a season ticket to the car park shown towards the top-left of the photo and seeing it reminds me that my younger brother, who is quite strong minded, had a number of stand up rows with the attendant who was rather...officious shall we shall!

 

1929 Cartoon

The 'Berkshire Chronicle' pays tribute to Reading centre-forward Bill Johnstone after his four-goal haul vs Oldham Athletic at Elm Park in January. After a dismal start to the season which saw the club rock-bottom of Division Two after 14 games, the Biscuit Boys went on a superb run of 14 league and cup matches without defeat.

 

1905 Views of Elm Park

Photo taken from 'The Book of Football', which was published in 1906. The original Norfolk Road stand, which was constructed at a cost of £500 when Elm Park was built in 1896, can be seen next to the famous 'Spread Eagle' pub. Date wise it must be 1905 at the latest, as a covered terrace ran from the right of the stand to halfway round the Town End, and this was in place from the summer of that year.

The club were 'indebted to Mr Keyser for a generous gift of the timber' which was used to provide covered accommodation for an extra 1,500 people and this can be seen below, also published in 'The Book of Football'.

The photo here appeared in an illustrated guide to Reading and was taken from the opposite side of the ground in March 1905. It shows what was to become known as the 'South Bank'.

 

1956 Photo

The Reading squad pictured in July 1956 at the start of pre-season training, with the backdrop of Elm Park's Town End.

 

1988 Simod Cup Memorabilia  

For most Royals fans, the Simod Cup win vs Luton is the single greatest day of following their team. Second Division Reading reached Wembley for the first time thanks to a memorable penalty shoot-out win against Coventry in the semi-final, and they totally outplayed their top-flight opponents in the final to win 4-1. I've added a new gallery of my momentoes of the day here.

 

1910-11 Fixture List 'Header'

I've included various bits and pieces here which don't really fit anywhere else, but are too good not to include. This is a great example and comes from a newspaper page featuring that season's fixtures. I will be adding photos, postcards, autographs and newspapers etc bit by bit.

 

1922 Cigarette Cards

Three different sizes of these cards were issued in the early twenties, and here are two examples the ultra-rare large 'Cabinet' versions. A more detailed explanation of this set can be seen on this page. Joe Bailey had the distinction of scoring Reading's first goal in the Football League in 1920.

 

1909 Cigarette Card

This design was was also used on cards issued by 'Ogden's' and 'Churchman's', but this is by far the scarcest. And no sniggering at the back please, this is a serious website.

 

1922 Postcard

The Biscuitmen before a cup match at Northampton in January 1922, which was lost 3-0. A couple of things struck me about this photo - the state of the pitch and the goal. I know that muddy pitches were par for the course in years gone by, but surely it wouldn't have been beyond the groundsman to give the woodwork a lick of paint? Thanks go to Dave Goss for sending me the photo.