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Hunty's Column: A Reunion With Trevor Senior

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This week Hunty takes the time to catch up with an old friend who happens to be one of Reading all-time leading goalscorer, Trevor Senior.


Hello again!

You might remember a few weeks ago I told the story of how my Reading fandom in exile was helped by serving former Royals striker Trevor Senior in a pub 20-odd years ago. Well this week I managed to catch up with the man on the phone and while I was still as nervous as that day in the 90's it was one of the most enjoyable hour's talking football I've ever had, even if initially I had to explain to Trev that I wasn't an undercover reporter from The Telegraph!

Trevor's an absolutely lovely bloke, who created plenty of cracking memories for those watching at Elm Park with 184 goals in just 362 across two spells at the club. Not that bad for a lifelong Chelsea fan.

We got talking about his pre-match routines which included rooming with Steve Richardson and chowing down on a meal of poached chicken. His time with Dave Crown Football Agents, where he had a financial advisor and Lotto boots. Is he jealous of those playing the game today? Not at all, even though the most he ever earned in the game was £600 per-week and while at Reading that topped out at around £350-400. At Watford, his goal bonus could have earned him an extra £15,000 if things had gone well but in the end he only ended up making £250!

That move to Watford from Reading came in the days of Glyn Hodges and John Barnes and Trevor had to admit that he felt out his depth ability wise compared to a relatively easy life at Reading where he knew he could succeed. Despite that gap in quality, Trevor still backed himself to succeed and thinks it could have been different if Dave Bassett had stayed on as boss. He also had to chase the club up for a bit of outstanding money and got a personal call from then Hornets Chairman Sir Elton John who wished him all the best in the future. He even got to go to a few of Elton's parties before moving on to Middlesbrough whom he helped get promotion to the top division, before eventually returning to Elm Park.

As for managers, Senior told me that Ian Branfoot and Maurice Evans were two of the best he played under at Elm Park, while he was happy to sing the praises of both Brian Little and Bruce Rioch. As for the bad managers? Well Trevor didn't want to name names but I'm sure a few of you can figure them out!

Trevor's favourite moment in the game came during the record breaking run at Rotherham, part of the 13-successive wins to start the 1985/86 season that remains a record to this day. He also fondly remembered scoring a four-minute hat-trick on his Elm Park debut.

What abut his favourite players? Well he had plenty of time for Dean Horrix, who did plenty of the hard work up front alongside him. There was also a lot of respect for his Reading Captain Martin Hicks, while Michael Gilkes was a man who Senior told me always made things easy for him, that Gilkesy always seemed to know where Trevor was going to be.

While he's got plenty of respect for those he played with, Trev readily admitted to being a selfish goalscorer because that was his job and wouldn't be a happy man if he came away without a goal, no matter the team result.

As for his opponents over the years and Alan Hansen and Gary Pallister were two that stood out, with neither giving him a sniff all game. There was even praise for then coach Colin Todd, who at Middlesbrough still had the ability to play football to a high standard despite retiring years beforehand.

In the modern game, Trevor sees a lot of comparisons with himself and Peter Crouch but like all of us can't believe the phenomenal talents of players like Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

Growing up, Senior's favourite player was George Best, and he spoke of his great delight at getting to chat to Best when they played together against New Zealand in a friendly at Elm Park in the early 80's. He was so starstruck all he could ask him was about his moulded boots! Trevor couldn't work out why Best was only knocking back an orange juice in the bar after the game only to read in the paper the next day that his hero was in court on a drink driving charge the next day!

When he retired from the game, Trevor spent time as a manager in the non-leagues but Senior told me he'd found it much harder than playing the game because he'd relied so much on natural talent when he was on the pitch. That made it harder for him to try and coach others and that didn't help his confidence when leading a team. Trevor left Bridport Town after seven years in charge earlier in 2016, telling me the stress of keeping a club like that going was just getting too much. Problems like going eight weeks without a game due to the weather was just getting too tricky.

Now he runs sports activities for youngsters in local schools and gets to watch his son play at Christchurch. Trevor still manages to come along to the Madejski to watch today's team play and catch up with a few former team mates now and then like Richardson. Does he still miss the game? Well he told me he missed the training and the banter, at being part of a group like that.

Before we ended the call, Trevor took the time to speak very fondly of Reading fans and the reception he got in his final game for the club when he had to spend the second half in goal and still got the win.

So a big thanks to Trevor, not just for the time spent taking me on a happy trip down memory lane but for all you've done for Reading FC.