Confirming what many Reading fans have anticipated for quite a while now, striker Jason Roberts has officially announced his retirement, which will come into effect when his contract runs out in the summer. Plagued by injury throughout much of last season and through all of this, Roberts has not played since a 1-0 defeat away at Southampton in December 2012. Sadly, despite receiving treatment for his hip injury in March of last year, the 36 year old has called time on his playing career.
This career started all of 18 years ago, playing for non-league Hayes, before signing for Wolverhampton Wanderers in 1997. Since then, he has appeared for Torquay United, Bristol City, Bristol Rovers, West Bromwich Albion and Portsmouth, before winning promotion to the Premiership with Wigan Athletic, and then moving to Blackburn Rovers.
Roberts' Reading career started in January 2012, arriving for an undisclosed fee as one of the first signings of the Anton Zingarevich era. He went on to score 6 times in that promotion-winning season, including a memorable header in the 3-1 win over promotion rivals Southampton. His Premier League campaign however was less prolific, appearing only 12 times and scoring just once - the opening goal in the infamous 5-7 defeat to Arsenal in the League Cup.
Overall, he boasts impressive career stats. Appearing in all senior divisions and non-league football, he scored 168 goals in 509 appearances.
The Grenadian has also made headlines off the pitch as well, for his outspoken nature on the issue of racism in football. In particular, his decision to not wear the ‘Kick It Out' t-shirt during pre-match warm-ups in the autumn of 2012 attracted national media attention - you can read his thoughts on the matter here.
In all, whatever your thoughts are on his approach to tackling racism, Jason Roberts has had a highly successful footballing career. He has appeared at all levels of the game, and leaves us Reading fans with many happy memories of his time at the club.
With that in mind, best of luck for the future Jason, whatever it may bring you.