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OPINION: A Better Way For Reading FC To Honour Its Heritage

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With fans debating the renaming of the North Stand, Bucks has an alternative suggestion for how to mark the club's past.

Reading v Crystal Palace - The Emirates FA Cup Sixth Round Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images

As I'm sure many of you have guessed by now, I'm not from Berkshire. In fact, having been born in Oxford (boo, hiss etc), I grew up near a small town in North Buckinghamshire called Aylesbury. To be honest, there's not a lot that puts Aylesbury on the map, bar tentative links to people like David Bowie, who played at the old Friars music club.

Similar to that is a tribute to the great British comedian Ronnie Barker. The Porridge star began his acting career in Aylesbury, so our local council decided to honour his life by putting up this statue of him.

For me, the Ronnie Barker statue is a fitting tribute to a great man. Apart from being a good representation of one of Barker's best characters, the design and placement of the statue in relation to the theatre make a poignant link between past and present. An iconic figure from the past is looking up at a much more modern symbol, essentially showing that he's proud of how his legacy turned out.

But what does any of this have to do with Reading?

I think that this idea would be a terrific one for the club to use at the Madejski Stadium. As many of you will have picked up from social media, there seems to be something of a generational divide between what I'll call the 'Elm Park' and 'Madejski Stadium' eras of fans. The current stadium is often thought of - in relation to its predecessor at least - as lacking character.

What better way to inject that than a Ronnie Barker-style statue? My proposal is that Reading erects a stone bench outside the Madejski, with the busts of several notable figures from the club's past on it.

Naturally, who those figures would be would generate plenty of debate. As a theoretical example, I'd suggest Steve Death, Robin Friday and Steve Coppell.

Regardless of the specifics, I think that using this design would be a great way of not only honouring the club's traditions, but also putting them into context with the present. In the same way that the Ronnie Barker statue links so well with the Waterside Theatre, so too would this design fit in with the Mad Stad.

The resulting structure would be a physical representation of the idea that the Madejski Stadium is in touch with its roots, and is very much part of a heritage that goes all the way back to 1871.

I'm not fervently convinced that this has to happen, because there are some practicalities to take into consideration. For example, the cost of one statue, let alone four, is a sizeable amount of money. Nonetheless, because of the reasons I've outlined above, I do feel that this proposal would in theory be a good one.

That's how I think Reading FC could improve the Madejski Stadium, but I'd love to hear what YOU think about my proposal. Would it work well, or would it not? Let me know in the comments section below, or tweet me @BucksRoyal.