- Position: Midfielder
- Nationality: Represented Jamaica but born in London
- Total Reading FC appearances: 206
- Total Reading FC goals: 16
If McAnuff had slotted past Diego Cavalieri after a stunning mazy dribble against Liverpool in the FA Cup or if Reading had got promoted after his late clincher against Cardiff in the play-off semi-final, then those moments would have been stronger contenders. But the advent calendar is not for ‘nearly’ moments, you’re here for some Christmas cheer after all, so let me take you back to some of the most joyous and euphoric few seconds in the club’s recent history.
Promotion was not necessarily on the agenda when Reading, sitting top of the Championship table, hosted Nottingham Forest in mid-April 2012. Even if they were to win, they’d have to hope other results would be on their side in order to go up there and then, with two games to play. The game was a largely scrappy affair, and the only goal came in the 81st minute as Mikele Leigertwood turned home Ian Harte’s free-kick. No mention of our man Jobi yet, you’re thinking. But it was the Jamaican international’s reaction at full-time that will live long in memory.
Along with supporters, the staff and players on the bench knew that West Ham had drawn 1-1 at Bristol City meaning that automatic promotion was secured for Brian McDermott’s men. The whistle blew at the Madejski Stadium and all hell broke loose. In the midst of being mobbed by teammates, Jobi was unsure of what was going on, of course he had no idea of the result at Ashton Gate. He ran to a camera and screamed “What’s going on? What’s happening? Are we up? Are we up? Are we up?!” before running off in celebration to join the instant pitch invasion from fans. A simply incredible moment of sheer jubilation. In his interview with The Tilehurst End earlier this year, Jobi recalled the celebrations:
“When I got that confirmation [that we had been promoted] it was just the best feeling in the world and the best feeling I’ve ever really had on a football pitch.”
“Us going up into the boxes and just looking down at a sea of blue and white and faces, it was just fantastic. A real highlight of my career and something I’ll certainly treasure forever.”
Having been named club captain the previous summer, McAnuff went on to lift the trophy once the Royals had been confirmed as champions. Relive the promotion-winning reaction below...