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The Case For The Eamonn Dolan North Stand

As we now know, Reading FC's long-serving academy boss Eamonn Dolan has passed away from cancer. Here, we make the case for this sad time to be turned into a positive tribute for the great man.

When the club announced their intention to rename the North Stand at the Madejski Stadium, they urged fans to pour in their ideas and tributes to heroes of the club's past. Robin Friday, Graeme Murty, and Martin Hicks were all worthy names banded about. Icons of the club, that no one could argue with honouring.

However, many fans pointed to the sense that the Royals have struggled to produce a true great that is so vividly associated with the club, that any name would fall short of the mark, or would merely act as a distraction.

I suggest that we turn the conversation a different direction, naming the stand not after someone who is a familiar name across the world, or even England, but a person who made such a huge impact at the club, who has spent years of his life working hard behind the scenes, and whose personality, methods, and products, were so intrinsically 'Reading', that he deserves to be awarded this huge honour.

As we all know, Dolan joined the club in September 2004, leaving behind a good job at Exeter City, where he played, worked behind the scenes, and managed the Devon club.

In the following years he oversaw the most successful period that Reading's academy has ever seen, and perhaps will ever see. Under his tutelage, a vast number of local players, and talents procured from across the country and continent, came through the ranks, and were given a chance in the first-team. A great number of these have gone on to perform at the highest-level, and the club itself has been built on home-grown talent ever since.

Time is needed to reflect on Dolan's true legacy at the club, and in the coming years the loss his families and friends are suffering will also be felt across the club. Such a legacy deserves ample recognition, and the Eamonn Dolan North Stand might just be that.