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10 Times Fans Made The Headlines At The Madejski Stadium

We look back at the moments when it was those in the stands who were centre of attention.

Reading v Hull City Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

28 December 1998: Reading 1-0 Notts County

This game is notable for seeing one of two own goals that Iain Richardson would score for Reading in consecutive seasons. It was also remembered for being the first, and as far as I’m aware the only, time a male streaker has been seen at the Madejski Stadium.

With an away player down injured the streaker legged onto the pitch from the corner of the North/West stand for a few comic moments. He kissed the ground, scored a pretend goal past the bemused County keeper, before evading a steward and legging it into the stand.

1 May 1999: Reading 2-0 Millwall

With time ticking away it was clear Reading had won the game. With little excitement for the away fans on the pitch a small segment of the Millwall following decided to further sully their reputation.

One idiot ran onto the pitch, walked towards the stewards and then struggled a bit. Moments later a group of 20 or 30 thought it would be clever to rip through the netting, which used to be used to divide home and away fans before the current barriers were put in place, and advance towards the Reading fans.

The police reacted quickly enough, and in the end it didn’t amount to much, but this was one of the uglier episodes in the Madejski Stadium’s history.

7 August 1999: Reading 2-1 Bristol City

A bright sunny day heralded the start of the new season against recently relegated opponents. The Royals took an early lead through Grant Brebner, but the game’s crucial moment was to occur on 32 minutes.

The ball went out for a throw in to City down on the East Stand side following a tussle between two players, and as the referee tried to sort that out, Gerard Lavin came over to take the throw in. Rather than pick the ball up to take the throw in though, he twatted the ball as hard as possible towards a section of Reading fans.

Immediately the Reading players rushed over and not surprisingly things got rather heated. Keith Scott tried to act as peacemaker and cool the passions of the incensed Reading fans. He pointed out to them that the linesman had seen what happened and for them to calm down. In due time the ref went over to the linesman, had a chat that seemed to last forever, before calling Lavin over and sending him off, much to the delight of the Reading fans.

It emerged after the game that Lavin broke Reading fan Mark Steven's wrist. Lavin would later admit assault in court and was forced to pay £300 damages to Stevens.

18 December 1999: Reading 2-2 Wrexham

Pants Day (Players Are Not Trying Sufficiently)! It started as an idea on Hob Nob Anyone? and saw most of the 6,232 fans waving underwear during the game.

Pants were swung in protest and for fun, but it was a success, as both John Madejski and Alan Pardew talking in length about it with the local and national media. Madejski was even seen to be swinging a pair of club-shop eight quid boxers.

Alan Pardew, however, took the opposite view and even claimed that the players had been brave to take the field.

Pants protest

When Reading took the lead the inevitable chants were sung: “to the underpants 1-0”, “we're pants and we're 1-0 up!” Unfortunately the Royals’ brittle confidence was soon on show and Wrexham turned it around.

The pants waving took on a more negative mood and one pair was even thrown at a linesman. In the end Reading managed to avoid a defeat when Keith Scott scored and ran over to the East Stand picked up a couple of y-fronts from the pitch and lobbed them into the crowd. The fans and players had both made their point.

15 January 2000: Reading 0-0 Cambridge United

In the last few years there has been a tendency for Reading fans and local journalists to presume a few hashtags on twitter is a sign of loud dissent from fans against managers, even when there is barely more than a muted boo at games. Fans of a certain age will know what proper dissent is like.

This was one of those occasions. A month after Pants Day and at the end of a 12th league game without victory in the third tier, some fans had had enough. About 200 fans poured onto the pitch from the East Stand and after initially being rather directionless headed towards the West Stand to protest. This was the first ever pitch invasion at the Madejski Stadium and shows how bad things were in our first two seasons.

16 May 2001: Reading 2-1 Wigan Athletic

What a night! The best atmosphere ever witnessed in the stadium’s history and one of the most exciting finishes too. The night did not start well for the home side though. A contested foul by Ady Williams on 25 minutes resulted in a strongly driven Kevin Nicholls free kick giving the visitors a lead.

Wigan immediately started time wasting, which frustrated a passionate home support. The number of stoppages, mostly against the Royals, boiled over to a pitch invasion by a Reading fan who couldn't hold back his frustrations any longer.

The fan tried to get at Scott Green, who had been part of the Bolton side that defeated Reading in the 1995 play-off final. The fan was eventually tackled by the players and led away by stewards.

He surely came to regret his moment of madness even more, when he missed out on one of the rare occasions when the fans celebrated so hard the stadium could be felt to sway.

1 April 2006: Reading 5-0 Derby County

At last a good moment. As well all know, a week before away to Leicester Reading had sealed automatic promotion to the top flight for the first time. The celebrations were to continue back at the Madejski Stadium, as results elsewhere went our way again, a wonderful second half performance meant the Royals had won the Championship title with five games to spare.

Cue the first ever celebratory pitch invasion in the stadium’s history and some of the most enduring images and memories in the club’s history.

3 May 2014: Reading 2-2 Burnley

Not Reading fans’ finest moment. Invading the pitch for finishing sixth is bad enough, invading the pitch when you’ve actually missed out on the playoffs rightly brings you derision.

I still remember the look of poor Chris Gunter’s face, as he initially hoped the invading fans meant Brighton had failed to get the win they needed to go above the Royals, only to quickly realise they were only on the pitch for a laugh.

16 March 2015: Reading 3-0 Bradford City

Reading were fined £100,000 by the FA for failing to prevent a pitch invasion after we reached the FA Cup semi finals for the first time since 1927. With one fan lobbing a flare into the Bradford fans and Charlie Sumner running onto the pitch mid-game and failing to perform four topless somersaults, this was one of Reading fans more infamous games.

Sumner ended up being banned from attending games for three years.

Reading v Bradford City - FA Cup Quarter Final Replay Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

30 April 2016: Reading 1-2 Preston North End

This was a miserable end to a miserable season. With defeat looking likely, the home fans took to entertaining themselves, in particular one fan who picked the ball up, when it was cleared into the stand, and made towards the exit with it.

The ball was eventually returned to the pitch and the fan was escorted to the exit by the stewards incurring the wrath of the crowd. Moments later he was allowed to return to his seat receiving deserved acclaim from his peers for his contribution.

It lifted the whole crowd and Reading sparked into life, shortly equalising with just four minutes to ago. Preston though still found time to get a winner and seal the fate of Brian McDermott.