I must admit that when we started the site three years ago I saw it as a small blog that would give myself and a few others the chance to rant every now and then, or just to write down ideas and thoughts that didn't really suit forums like Hob Nob or the Royals Rendezvous.
Rather fittingly our two opening articles back in 2011 were on the role of our Academy... and of how to make money selling a football club.
If you'd said to me we'd be on a global blog network churning out articles daily, have over 3,000 Twitter followers and hosting a twice weekly podcast, I'd have looked at you with a mix of fear and surprise. In truth the only reason we're at this point is because we've been lucky to have help from well over 30 writers in those three years and because those of you who've read us, keep coming back.
It's never been about numbers but it does help give you the motivation to keep going when you see that the readership is growing and for that I can only thank our readership and promise that we'll try to continue producing as high a standard of writing as we possibly can going forward.
Most importantly I just wanted to again say that we're an open portal. All fans (Reading or otherwise) are welcome to contribute to the site, whether that's on a one-off or a more regular basis. For more information just click here.
So again, thank you from all of us here and with that nonsense out of the way, here's some of our memories....
What's been your favourite Reading FC related moment over the past three years?
Marc Mayo: Probably riding the park'n'ride bus back from the Southampton away game in 2012, having won 3-1. It had capped a period of winning at West Ham, Brighton and then St. Mary's that put us top... As the bus rode past a train station a couple with Southampton shirts waited, and a Reading fan pointed them out. I gave a friendly (ish) wave to them and the lady of the pair proceeded to give me the a sharp one-finger salute that sent a number of us into raptures. It seemed to sum up our incredible morale at the time quite nicely...
Hoops: As bizarre as it sounds, January 2013 was absolutely incredible for me because, up to that point, the season had been miserable. Yes, the season as a whole was miserable but Le Fondre's heroics in that month were amazing and gave every fan something to cheer about. A bright spot in the midst of an awful season.
Bucks: The last three seasons have been so up and down that it's hard to give a definitive 'best' moment - any part of the trip to Upton Park two years ago today is definitely worth mentioning, and the last-minute goals last January gave me real hope that we just might stay up, but there's one that really sticks out. I was on the way back from a school trip to Berlin last Easter, with the plane getting into Heathrow on the Friday evening that we were away at Southampton. As we were all going through customs, I was desperately waiting on text updates from my mum but, as luck would have it, someone offered me use of their iPhone to listen to the match on 5 Live. Cue me jumping up and down, screaming like a buffoon in full view of everyone in the lobby when the third goal went in and when the full time whistle went. The best of times.
Jonny: Heading into half-time at Upton Park 1-0 down, having been dominated all match, before Kaspars Gorkss equalised from a corner, made for a pretty good celebration. But when Noel Hunt put us ahead before the break, it was a different kind of reaction. A true euphoria, at something nobody thought possible (a bit like promotion that year)... An "Aguerooooooooo!" moment of our own.
Wimb: It's nice when you've got plenty to choose from! That first season after we started up had the dramatic win at Cardiff to get to Wembley and even though we lost to Swansea, that comeback was thrilling. Closer to the present we had those dramatic comebacks in the Premier League and the personal satisfaction of thrashing Bolton 7-1.
However I have to go for those dramatic few minutes before half-time at Upton Park in 2012. Before then our charge towards the top had been nice but you still couldn't really buy into the automatic promotion dream, something that was reinforced when we went a goal down and looked pretty toothless in the first 40 at West Ham. Then it all changed... corner from Harte finds Gorkss BAM! The away end goes ballistic only for it to get even better moments later when Hunty puts us 2-1 up. From there we never looked back and whether it was the virtual clincher at Southampton, the pitch invasion against Forest, having the privilege of being in the players lounge when they sealed the title, or the fun of Birmingham away it was some of the funnest day's I've ever had as a Reading fan.
Who's been your favourite Reading FC player in that time?
Hoops: Really pushing it here, but in the past 3 years my favourite player has still been Shane Long. Since his departure I'm yet to really be gripped by a player. If you were to push me for a more recent player, I'd have to say #BerkshireNeymar (Jordan Obita)... But he's now being played as a #BerkshireCarlos instead!
Marc: Favourite player is tied between Jimmy Kebe, the mercurial winger who I loved to watch gallop in front of me in the North East corner, and Shaun Cummings. I'll explain that one more so- Cummings was symbolic of the hideous Rodgers era, signed on a whim and turned up woefully unequipped in all departments. Then he performed one of the greatest transformations I've seen under McDermott, becoming a solid RB who combined well with Kebe, and has one of the greatest RFC chants in living memory...
Bucks: My favourite player from the last three seasons would probably have to be Noel Hunt. We've had great memories from all over the squad during that time period, but I don't think that Hunty's presence off the field gets as much mentioning as it deserves. In a world where footballers are increasingly seen to be out of touch with the fans, Noel Hunt is the exact opposite. He's done a lot of work for the Princes Trust, and met Prince Charles at Clarendon House as part of it a few years ago. Plus, at the end of his five season long stay at the club, the community department of the club honoured him by using his name for a new award - the Noel Hunt award. What better way to leave a lasting legacy than that? On the pitch he gave us fans fond memories as well, being an integral part of the promotion-winning side under Brian McDermott, capped with a brilliant finish at Upton Park right in front of the away fans.
Wimb: I've also got a lot of love for Jimmy Kebe, though sadly almost from the time we started the website his injury problems started to blight him more and more. Longy was great for those final months in 2010/11 while Jason Roberts deserves a lot of love for his role in getting us promoted, as does Adam Le Fondre.
As much as his contract dispute left a sour taste I'm going to vote for Alex Pearce because the way he constantly battles back from criticism to play a role in the team is exactly the type of player we need at the club. Pearcy has had to put up with a fair amount of stick for years yet keeps coming back and never loses his temper with the fans. He'll never be World Class but he's dependable and clearly cares deeply for the club.
Jonny: Just for consistency of playing time, I've got to go for Alex McCarthy. The closest thing we've had to an England player since Nicky Shorey, he's still only 24, and will hopefully stay with us for years to come.
Where do you see the club in three years time?
Hoops: I don't mind what division we're in, to be honest. I'd just like to have a dedicated owner with enough money to make transfer windows interesting, a manager who nurtures Academy players in the first team and fans that aren't frustrated at every home game!
Marc: In 3 years time we'll be fighting off relegation from the Premiership.
Bucks: If you'd asked me this question three years ago, I'd probably have said that we'd be challenging for promotion to the Premiership in a broadly similar way to how we are at the moment. As for the next three-year period, I reckon that we'll make bigger strides towards staying in the top division, and will probably be, like Marc said, in a Premiership relegation battle.
Also, I agree with what Hoops said about the academy. Whatever direction we go from here, be it with a rich billionaire at the helm, or the inevitable cloth cutting that would come from not finding a new owner, youth is going to be incredibly important for the future. I can't wait to see players like Harry Cardwell, Liam Kelly, Sammy Fridjonsson, Aaron Kuhl, Gozie Ugwu and Harry Cardwell get regular starts in the first team. We've seen at Southampton that a well-run academy brings great benefits to a club, and I very much look forward to seeing that same success at our club too.
Wimb: All depends on the ownership really..... I think without one we'll be in for a rough couple of years but should be in play-off contention in three years time. With a new owner.... who knows!
Jonny: I reckon we'll be in one of two positions - fighting to get in the top six, or fighting to stay in the top division. That's "the Reading way"...
So thanks again to all of those who've written for us or read the site or just made a comment, it all helps and here's to the next three years.
I thought it best to leave this little article with something that the readers put together. Here is our gallery composed of your pictures from that magical promotion night in 2012.