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Hunty's Column: A Reading Fan's Journey

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Robin Friday's socks, naming your dog after Tony Rougier & trips from Australia - All part of Hunty's journey as a Reading fan as he invites you to share your own tales.

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First of all fair play to all the Reading fans that headed up to Wolves and even more so for those that are planning the long trip to Newcastle on Wednesday!

Last week I wrote of how my little girl started her journey as a Reading fan, so this week I thought I'd tell you a bit about my own adventures as a fan and I'm just as keen to hear yours!

I was born and raised in Earley before leaving for Dorset aged five but my Dad spent many a night on the beer in the 70's in the Boar's Head and I even vaguely remember him coming home with a pair of Robin Friday's socks. The Reading links were strong even then and there's still a picture of us with Gary Peters from the early 70's at home.

My first game as a Reading fan would come away at Bournemouth in the early 80's, watching future England Internationals Kerry Dixon & Neil Webb turn out in Reading colours.  After that, I struggled to get to games but I did manage meet legendary Royals striker Trevor Senior while working as a barman in Dorchester.

My exile continued through the mid-nineties as funds were tight during my time as a student nurse but I still tried to back the boys as much as I could, encouraging the group I looked after to cheer us on on the play-off final against Bolton... the less said about the result the better!

While the team struggled, 1996 saw my own finances improve and with that money came my first real game at Elm Park and win over QPR. Many journeys from Cambridgeshire followed, watching the likes of Boris 'Wiggy' Mikhailov  & Jimmy Quinn. As the years followed I even saw Paul Brayson score a goal & fell in man love with Darren Caskey, with my trips often followed by falling asleep on the train ride home.

Then Tommy Burns & the Madjeski Stadium era arrived and I was there to watch the first ever League game at the stadium as  we beat Luton 3-0. I even won £30 betting on the correct result, to lead to the only time I've ever hoped Reading didn't score more!

Then came the Pardew era which included turning out for the 'Internet Royals' and what a team that was, I met a good friend Rob there and even met Mr Jolly from Playdays!

That team had a lasting impact in my household as I named my big poodle Rouge after Anthony Rougier who told me it was a first for him to have a dog named after him. Yet that era was also tinged with sadness as my Dad passed away during our promotion season and I watched on with sadness at St Neots railway station as 9/11 unfolded in the hours before we took on West Ham in the League Cup at the Madejski Stadium.

I moved on to Australia which made getting to games pretty tricky, so I made a bit of a shrine to the club over there. I still managed the odd visit, during which I saw Murty's penalty against QPR, fell In man love again with Shane Long and even got to see Mikele Leigertwood send us back to the Premier League... all based around family visits, honest ;)

So I ended up moving back to Ireland four years ago, with delusions that we'd do well in the Premier League but despite that failure I did manage to get a job that saw me work with a mum of one of the players, so my Royal links remained firm.

It may be 40 years since meeting Gary Peters but I still turn into a big kid meeting players, even when they're half my age! I'm still just as in love with Reading as those very early days and I wouldn't change a thing.

So that's my story but what about yours? How did you end up supporting the club and what adventures has it taken you on? Let us know in the comments below and thanks for reading!