To mark Reading’s 500th game at the Mad Stad this Saturday against Burton Albion, we’ll be sharing all of our favourite moments from the greatest sporting arena on earth. To read all the submissions so far, just click here, whilst today Podcast Extra host Olly represents the late teens category.
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11th September 2006: Reading 1-0 Manchester City
I’ve got no idea why my dad chose this game to introduce me to Reading Football Club as it was on a school night, but had he not my love affair with Ivar Ingimarsson may never have begun. The Icelandic defender scored the only goal against a pre-Sheikh Manchester City.
Game You Missed But Wish You Were There
12th January 2013: Reading 3-2 West Bromwich Albion
I wish I witnessed any of the games of 2005/06 season, but I suppose that doesn’t really count as I unfortunately wasn’t a supporter in that record-breaking campaign. Other than that I’d probably say the 3-2 win over West Brom in the Premier League era.
We were celebrating my mum’s birthday with family so I was left checking updates on my phone, but stopped doing so when the Baggies went 2-0 up with 20 minutes to play. Looking at the final score later in the evening and seeing that Kebe, ALF and Pog had all scored late on to complete an incredible comeback left me dancing around the living room but also gutted that I wasn’t at the Mad Stad. There weren’t many highlights that campaign so it would have been nice to be there for that one.
16th March 2015: Reading 3-0 Bradford City
It’s rare that you can enjoy a game with such a lot riding on it, but after Hal Robson-Kanu and Garath McCleary had put Reading 2-0 up inside ten minutes in the FA Cup quarter-final replay against Bradford, I was convinced we weren’t letting the lead slip and began to relax.
Luckily I was correct, and when Jamie Mackie fired home the third goal in the second half right in front of where I was sitting, it was just the most incredible feeling in the world. The atmosphere was electric, everyone was in a celebratory mood and it was hard to believe that little old Reading had reached the cup semi-finals for the first time in 88 years.
1st March 2014: Reading 1-1 Yeovil Town
In terms of entertainment, this game certainly wasn’t bad if you were a neutral. Three red cards, a missed penalty and a total of 39 shots would probably have made great viewing had you not been supporting Reading.
Unfortunately I was of course supporting the Royals, and with all three of those red cards being shown to Yeovil players, the penalty missed by Reading and 30 of those shots coming from Reading, it made for a hugely frustrating afternoon as somehow we could only take a point off a team sitting in the relegation zone. Had we won the game, we would have also qualified for the play-offs that season.
Best Reading Goal
11th September 2015: Reading 5-1 Ipswich Town (Oliver Norwood)
I would have said Garath McCleary’s stunning volley against Burnley on the final day of 2013/14, but BucksRoyal has already taken that one. At a close second for me is Oliver Norwood’s long-range effort in the 5-1 rout of Ipswich in 2015/16.
Simply put, the ball probably couldn’t have been any more in the top corner after the midfielder audaciously let fly from yards. The fact that the goalkeeper didn’t even attempt to make a save shows just how incredible it was. The sweet strike capped off a superb evening of football - Reading haven’t won by a bigger scoreline since.
Best Opposition Goal
28th February 2015: Reading 0-3 Nottingham Forest (Gary Gardner)
This was a truly abysmal game that I wish I could erase from my memory but the inclusion of two absolute screamers from Nottingham Forest means that that is rather hard.
One came from Ben Osborn to put the visitors 1-0 up, but my choice is Gary Gardner’s long range stunner to finish the 3-0 rout. The midfielder picked the ball up just inside the Reading half, dribbled completely unchallenged before letting fly from 30 yards. His effort rifled into the back of the net via the underside of the bar giving Adam Federici no chance at all. Magnificent.
16th March 2015: Reading 3-0 Bradford City (Pitch invader)
Yep, we’re going back to that quarter-final. With a place at Wembley secured, everyone up for a party and probably quite a lot of alcohol consumed, it was unsurprising one home fan took his celebrations too far.
Charlie Sumner was that fan in question, who took to the pitch in the second half, took his shirt off and began to head towards the away stand. Normally this isn’t something I’d find funny, but when he started doing somersaults and falling over, you couldn’t help but laugh. The PA man clearly agreed, and played circus-like music that made the whole situation even more comedic (although I’m surprised he didn’t get fired). The lacklustre response from stewards, who seemed perfectly happy to allow Sumner, who earned the affectionate nickname of ‘Pudding’, to continue to embarrass himself, was equally laughable.
One Thing You Would Change
I echo the frustration that the stadium is a bit too far away from well, everything else, but for the sake of variation I’ll put forward the left field suggestion of moving away fans to the upper west stand and have the whole of the south stand for home fans. The atmosphere is in desperate need of a boost at the Madejski Stadium, and this could be one of many ways to achieve that. Newcastle United put away supporters ‘up in the gods’ and it certainly minimises the noise they can make at St. James’ Park.