1967-68 Team Photo 

Reading went for a more modern look in the sixties, so don't be alarmed, this isn't Coventry. We went with this kit for four seasons, from 1965 to 1969, before switching back to the hoops. In September 1967 Third Division Reading were drawn at home to First Division West Brom in the League Cup. Nearly 19,000 were at Elm Park as we outclassed the Throstles with a brilliant display to win 3-1.

 

1960-61 Team Photo 

This is yet another fantastic picture that my friend, fellow RFC collector Graham Bryant has sent me. Graham has copied several of his own photos, many of which are new to me but also some that have replaced inferior versions, including this from the 1960-61 season. I'm also after player head-shots and if anyone can help please contact me and I'll give you a mention!

 

1929 Photo

Reading captain Alf Messer greets his Sheffield Wednesday counterpart Jimmy Seed before the FA Cup fourth round tie at Elm Park. One of our best results in the competition was achieved as we beat Champions elect Wednesday thanks to a goal from Bill Johnstone, though goalkeeper Joe Duckworth put in a typically heroic display, making several brave saves.

 

1951-52 Team Photo

The Reading XI before the home match vs Norwich City on October 27th 1951, which ended 1-1. After this, the team went on an incredible run of 19 wins in 20 games, the last of which saw us draw level at the top of the Division 3 (South) table with Plymouth after a 2-0 win against them, in front of over 28,000 at Elm Park. Sadly, an average end to the season meant the runners-up spot and no promotion.


1906 Book Plate  

Taken from the four-volume set 'Association Football & the Men who Made It', published in 1906, this photo features Reading captain Herbert Smith in action for England vs Scotland on April 1st 1905, at the Crystal Palace ground.

 

1927 Photo 

Supporters wait for trams in Broad Street to get to Elm Park for the FA Cup fifth round tie against Brentford. Reading's all-time record attendance of 33,042 somehow squeezed into the ground, and as someone who was part of a couple of 25,000 plus crowds at Elm Park it must have been mayhem. It's interesting that everyone seems to be male, they're all wearing hats and there appears to be one policeman controlling them! Reading secured a 1-0 win thanks to a goal from Frank Richardson.

 

1969-70 Team Photo

A couple of sources have this photo as being from 1970-71 but I didn't think it could be as Dennis Allen (back row, third left) is included and he left in the Summer of 1970. This was confirmed when Pete Froud told me it was taken before the Fulham game at Elm Park in March 1970. Reading finished 8th in the Third Division having faded after topping the table in February.

 

1959-60 Team Photo

This is one of several superb team photos I've added here. A number of well loved characters are in this line-up, including Ray Reeves, Maurice Evans, Johnny Walker, Gordon Neate and Jimmy Wheeler.

 

1972-73 Team Photo 

Team and officials from Charlie Hurley's first full season as manager and Reading's second in the league basement. The Biscuitmen conceded only seven goals at Elm Park, but just three away wins meant no sustained push for promotion as we finished 7th. My thanks go to Alan Bunce at Get Reading for finding the photo for me.

 

1964-65 Team Photo

This is another great photo that Dave Goss has sent me. Unfortunately there's some damage, so I thought I'd attempt a repair. I'm showing the 'before and after' versions, with some 'leg transplants', and I don't think I've done a bad job....just don't look too closely!

 

Tommy Dixon 1929-2014

I was sad to hear that former Reading centre-forward Tommy Dixon has died at the age of 84. Starting out as a left-back in local football, Tommy joined his home town club Newcastle as an amateur. He joined West Ham in 1952 and scored 19 times in 1953-54, but after losing his place Dixon joined Reading in 1955. He was top-scorer in 1956-57, during which he bagged an impressive 19 goals in just 12 games in a prolific spell halfway through the season, and 1957-58. He lost his place to Bobby Ayre the following season and moved to Brighton, before returning to the North-East and spells with Workington and Barrow. Blessed with plenty of pace, Tommy scored a respectable 76 goals in 143 games for us.

 

1976-77 Team Photo

This was the last season that Reading could boast that star striker Robin Friday was amongst their ranks. The talented but unpredictable front man (and he matched both of those descriptions to the extreme) was sold to Cardiff in December, and after a promising start the Royals ended the season being relegated back to Division Four. Manager Charlie Hurley was so disappointed with the first half display against Bury that he quit at half-time! This photo replaces a b&w version and my thanks go to Graham Bryant for sending it to me. The full line-up can be seen on the Team Groups 1976-2015 page.

 

1953 Photo

In May 1953 a group of old Reading players gathered for a reunion at Elm Park, instigated by director Alf Smith, later club Chairman. The five players had all appeared for the Biscuitmen both before and after the Great War. Goalkeeper Sid Crawford said "Reading's equipment seems just marvelous to me. It almost makes me envious when I think of the days when we had to clean our own boots, and after every match take our football attire home for the wife to wash. We had to carry all our clobber with us wherever we went, and we had to wait until after the Saturday game in order to get our week's money." A wonderful photo of some legendary players who appeared for the club 100 years ago. Left to right: Fred Bartholomew, George Horler, Sid Crawford, Ted Hanney and Jack Smith, along with director Alf Smith.

 

1984 Postcard 

In October 1984 Reading played New Zealand in a friendly at Elm Park, and lined up with a couple of legends. Yes, that's Trevor Senior and Lawrie Sanchez. The other bloke wasn't bad either!

 

1965-66 Team Photo

This photograph was issued with the Reading Evening Post and included printed autographs. The player on the far left is defender Gordon 'Fred' Neate, a popular full-back who was forced to retire from playing in 1966 at the age of 25 due to a knee injury. He then took up the position of groundsman, a post he held for many years at both Elm Park and the Madejski Stadium.

 

c1925 Trade Card 

This is a card I've been looking for years to find and I hadn't even seen one before, so I was delighted to spot it on Alan Jenkins' wonderful blog.

 

2009-10 Team Photo

I'm still on a mission with the team photos, and I'm always looking the add to or improve on what I have. In particular, the period between 1930 and 1970 needs better quality images, so if you could help at all please contact me here. The squad here includes James Harper, bottom right, but I don't quite know whats going on with the shorts.

 

1975-76 Press Photos

Reading finally achieved the club's first post-war promotion under popular manager Charlie Hurley, with a third place finish in Division 4. Players included Gary Peters, Ray Hiron and Bruce Stuckey.

 

1988-89 Team Photo

Simod Cup kings but newly relegated Reading very nearly went down again this season, with only a 4-2 win at Chesterfield on the final day ensuring safety. Les Taylor, Steve Moran, Steve Richardson and Linden Jones, bottom right of photo, seem to be very friendly here.

 

1927-28 Postcards

Reading's first promotion as a Football League club came in 1925-26 when we won Division Three (South). Going into the last match of the season the Biscuitmen sat a point behind leaders Plymouth and, in the days when only one team was promoted, had to beat Brentford at Elm Park whilst hoping Argyle lost to Gillingham. Plymouth went down 2-0 as Reading put on a grand performance to thrash the Bees 7-1, with Frank Richardson scoring four and Hugh Davey three.

 

1935-36 Photos

Bill Robson, Charlie Gregory and Horace Fielding are among half a dozen player photos from the mid-thirties added to this page. All three played in two famous cup-ties at Elm Park from the period which were lost against Arsenal and Manchester United.

 

1965 Postcard

This 'Daily Express' postcard-sized issue includes Reading player and later manager Maurice Evans. The popular wing-half spent his entire senior playing career with the Biscuitmen, playing over 400 games between 1955 and 1967, and served as manager from 1977 to 1984. A true gentleman of the game, Maurice led Oxford to League Cup glory in 1986.

 

1983-84 Team Photo

After nearly going out of business and suffering relegation the previous season, Reading picked themselves up to win promotion from Division Four, this being the last time the Royals played in the Football League's bottom tier. New boy Trevor Senior was signed as replacement for the Chelsea bound Kerry Dixon, and scored a record 41 goals, including 36 in the league. Back row: Williams, Wood, Senior, Barnes, Judge, Hicks, Sanchez and Horrix. Front row: Beavon, Price, White, Tutty, Crown and Richardson.

 

1895 Team vs Corinthians

The Reading team on March 6th 1895 that lost 2-1 on the old ground at Caversham. The players are - back row: Shea, Cannon and Justins. Middle row: White, Deane (captain), Knight and Skurry. Bottom row: Mills, Stewart, Dickenson and Kelsey. This was a time of huge change, as the next season the club began engaging paid players, then moved to the newly built Elm Park in 1896.

 

1913-14 Newspaper Supplement

A timely reminder to have a look at this poignant and moving film, which tells the story of three Reading players' experience during the Great War. To quote the Reading Observer, "The news of Allen Foster's death came like a thunderclap and the death roll of Reading Football Club players is slowly mounting up. It's impossible to believe that the fairhaired centre forward with a caustic tongue but lovable disposition would entertain us no more".

 

 

1979-80 Team Photo 

This line-up includes a sixteen year-old Neil Webb (second from right, back-row) and a young Lawrie Sanchez (third player from left, middle row) who both went on to bigger things.

 

1978-79 Team Photo

The Royals squad that won the club's first divisional title for more than fifty years. The team ended the season with a record breaking 11 match run without conceding, and only eight goals were let in at home in total. Midfielder Richie Bowman, bottom right, was named the club's 'Player of the Season' for the second year running.

 

1951 Team At Southport

The Reading team for the FA Cup replay on the 18th December, which ended in a second 1-1 draw, with the Biscuitmen winning the third meeting 2-0. The line-up is, back: Brice, Wicks, Lewis, Marks, Johnston, Moyse. Front: Bainbridge, Henley, Edelston, Simpson and Blackman.

 

1971-72 Team Photo 

With Elm Park's Norfolk Road stand behind them, the Reading squad line-up during their first season of Fourth Division football. Manager Jack Mansell was sacked in October 1971, and trainer Jimmy Wallbanks, left middle, took temporary charge before the appointment of Charlie Hurley in January. To my mind this is the classic Reading kit, unadorned as it is by sponsor's logos or badges. Even the socks are perfect!

 

2001-02 Collectors Cards

With ten games of the season remaining, Reading held a six point lead at the top Division 2, and looked like winning the title comfortably. However, just one more game was won, with the other nine drawn as the Royals got the serious jitters. The memorable last game was at Griffin Park, where Jamie Cureton's late equaliser denied hosts Brentford the second automatic promotion spot. These cards are from a set issued by the Reading FC Society of Collectors and Historians.

 

1926 Team Photo

When I first saw this picture I assumed it was taken before the FA Cup semi-final against Cardiff, played at Molineux in March 1927. However, a couple of these players didn't play in that game, though the background is Molineux. So I checked the records and this team drew 1-1 at Wolves in October 1926. The players are, back row: Inglis, Eggo, Duckworth, McConnell, Evans. Front row: Dougall, Braithwaite, Davey, Richardson, Robson and Messer.

 

 

1902 Newspaper Photo

Reading's Ernie Watts, from a 1902 publication (though he was a centre-half, despite what this picture says!) He played in the historic opening game at the newly-built Elm Park in 1896 and was one of the club's first professionals. 'Big Wattie' hailed from Tilehurst and played over 130 games for us in our early Southern League days.

 

 

1985-86 Team Photo

Reading's remarkable record of winning their first 13 games of the season, the best in league history, is safe for another year after Leyton Orient dropped their first points following eight straight victories.

 

 

1990 Postcard

For many years Stuart Clarke has been documenting the beautiful game at all levels, in all countries with his wonderful photos, in often quirky and original ways. That is evident in this postcard, with Elm Park's neighbours on Suffolk Road attending to the club's laundry.

 

1979 First Day Cover

I received a lovely message from Steve Death's daughter Alexandria, and it's nice to see relatives of ex-players getting enjoyment from the site. This cover is signed by Steve, and is a tribute to his magnificent feat of keeping 11 consecutive clean sheets at the end of the 1978-79 season.

 

1927 Autographs

Superb set of signatures from the days when you could actually make out who the names were! Nine of the players who appeared in our only FA Cup semi-final are here, with Frank Richardson and Alf Messer missing.

 

 

1980-81 Team Photo

This is one of a few press photographs I've added here. The date on the back tells me it was taken on the 10th July 1980, which just happened to be my 18th Birthday!

 

2012-13 Match Attax (Vietnamese Version)

Three Reading players featured in a set of 88 Match Attax cards, which were given away inside packets of 'Poca Chips'. These ultra rare cards are about half the size of the regular English edition and have rounded corners.

 

1998-99 Team Photo

The Reading squad before the first season at the brand new (as yet unfinished) Madejski Stadium. The first match was played on 22nd August and Reading beat Luton Town 3-0, with Grant Brebner scoring the stadiums first ever goal. Note the construction workers top left!

 

 

1910-11 Postcard

This is possibly my favourite postcard in the collection. Having been relegated, the club were facing an uncertain future, but there is a real dignity about this group which I find quite touching. The photo was taken with the original main stand on the right, and the tops of the houses on Norfolk Road can be seen to the left.

 

1924 Sam Jennings, The Player Who Vanished

A really odd and intriguing one this. Sam Jennings joined Reading on loan from Middlesbrough in 1921 and was top scorer for three seasons before joining West Ham in 1924. Sam was often in trouble with referees for using foul language, and was even warned by the board about his conduct. Would that explain why he has been unceremoniously removed from the second of these two pictures? It seems a strange thing to do given that there would be no commercial value in that photo. Perhaps the club were peeved because West Ham tried to pay Reading for his services before the league realised he was only on loan!

 

 

2008 Trade Card

From a set of ten, this 'cigarette card' style issue features names such as Maradona, Cruyff and Best, finally putting Robin Friday in the company that Reading fans always knew he belonged!

 

 

2009-10 Team Photo

The Reading team line up in that season's third kit before a testimonial match against former skipper Graeme Murty's '106 team', who played in the usual blue and white home kit, at the Madejski Stadium in July 2009. A really superb photo which has been signed by the eleven players.

 

2006-07 Official Photos

Three nice signed photos from Reading's first ever top-flight season.

 

1971 First Day Cover

Issued to mark the club's centenary, this cover is part of a collection I've added to this page, which I shall be adding to in the coming weeks. It's been signed by Fred Bartholomew and Alec Christie, who both played in Reading's first season of league football in 1920-21.

 

1927-28 Postcards

Three superb postcards of popular goalkeeper Joe Duckworth and internationals Dai Evans and Billy McConnell, of Wales and Ireland respectively.

 

 

1926-27 Postcard

Scarce postcard of the Reading team that took part in ten epic cup-ties before eventually falling at the semi-final stage. During the run, the Biscuit Boys defeated Brentford 1-0 in front of Elm Park's all-time record attendance of 33,042.

 

 

1950-51 Trade Card

Something always puzzled me about the team in this photo, namely that they never played in a competitive match with this line-up! So my thanks go to my friend, fellow collector and historian Bryan Horsnell for solving the mystery with the following information:

Like you, I checked through all the READING League & Cup line-ups for 1950-51 and this XI never played together in one of these matches, or indeed the season before - just in case it was an old (1949-50) team group that SPORT were using, in 1950-51. Very strange, as there was no 'recognised' centre-forward in the pictured line-up, either!

I then wondered if it was taken at one of the many first team 'friendlies' and 'floodlit matches', Reading played in the early 1950's. Whilst I have never tried to collect ALL of Reading's post-war League & Cup 'Home' programmes, I did collect the 1950's Home 1st Team Friendlies and Floodlit matches.

I checked my 1950-51 issues and discovered that Reading played Leicester City, in a friendly, on 10 February 1951. The match ended in a 2-2 draw - Goalscorers - Reading:- Brooks(2) Leicester:- Hines & Brice(o.g.) The Reading team, printed in the programme that day was (in 1, 2, 3, 5 formation) :- McBride: Moyse, Wicks; McLean, Brice, Johnston; Simpson, Edelston, Blackman, Brooks and Bainbridge. However, luckily for me, and all those that like to know who 'actually' played in these games, the previous owner of the programme had annotated the result, goalscorers and a 'team change' - Livingstone for Blackman , at centre-forward! MYSTERY SOLVED and a real EUREKA moment! To my knowledge, nobody else ever discovered the Reading opponents, date, result and goalscorers for the XI pictured in this SPORT photo. These same eleven players never played together again.

 

 

1923-24 Postcard

Great photo of the Reading first team and reserves, which was taken before the annual trial match between 'whites' and 'stripes'. New signing Alf Messer (centre of the middle row) was a dominant defender who became one of the club's all-time greats.

 

1928-29 Postcard

This postcard of Reading's 'cup team' was presumably published after the Biscuit Boys beat The Wednesday (they officially added Sheffield to their name in 1929) in the FA Cup fourth round. The Owls were to be League Champions that season, so this ranked as one of our finest results, played in front of a jam-packed Elm Park crowd of over 29,000. Reading supporter John Arlott, who as a boy would cycle from his home in Basingstoke to Elm Park to watch his heroes, later wrote about the moment centre-forward Bill Johnstone scored the winner; 'the crammed crowd gasped with disbelief before it cheered - Johnstone scored, and Reading were in the lead. We went to our knees to Johnstone, abjectly withdrew every unkind word we had ever uttered about him and thanked the stars of football that we had him'.