The Supporters’ Trust At Reading (STAR)’s fledgling Reading FC Hall of Fame welcomed 13 new members tonight, with Steve Coppell the crowd favourite among the hundred plus gathered at the Madejski Stadium to witness the second crop of inductees. It was another night to not just celebrate familiar names that we know and love, but to learn about some of the key names from Reading’s past, from war heroes, to a man who saved the football club, half a century before Sir John Madejski was even born.
STAR’s aim is to induct 150 names into the Hall of Fame before the club’s 150-year anniversary and tonight’s group joins the 11 who were inducted during the first ceremony last year. The project owes much to the hard work of STAR’s Roger Titford who was on hand to provide context to each inductee alongside former Reading PA man Paul Allen, who greeted the crowd with a familiar rendition of ‘back the boys and make some noise!’
Also present was one of last year’s inductees Ady Williams, with the BBC Radio Berks man there to help host a pre-ceremony quiz and draw a raffle that saw match-worn shirts from Jem Karacan and Sean Morrison go to a couple of lucky fans. The Tilehurst End was also there, manning one of several tables dotted around the room, giving fans the chance to interact with a range of groups, including STAR themselves, the Reading FC Former Players’ Association and the Reading Collectors and Historians, who had some fantastic artefacts and pieces of Reading memorabilia for fans to take a look at.
Yet the main event was unquestionably the inducting of the 13 men into the Hall of Fame and I can’t possibly do their full stories justice on this website. For that I’ll leave it to STAR themselves who’ll have more background and information up during the next few weeks on their own site.
Whether it was stories of the tragic end of former Captain Harry Rogers in 1879, to the wartime heroics of Joe ‘Bubbles’ Bailey, Ted Drakes’ modernisation of the manager’s job at the club, or Roy Tranter’s boardroom battles to prevent the merger with Oxford in the 1980’s, few could argue with the credentials of those picked to join the elite.
Even as someone born in the years following that (thankfully) thwarted merger, it was lovely to see more recent cult heroes in Jimmy Quinn, Coppell and Gylfi Sigurdsson also picked to enter what will be a small group in the context of the club’s long history.
If you think you know the club’s history inside out, then you really need to test yourself at an event like this as the level of research and insight is fascinating for fans young and old. A big credit has to go to STAR for taking the time to put on a night like this and the good news is we’ve got another few years to honour even more deserving candidates.
As mentioned, keep an eye on STAR’s website and here on TTE for some more reflections on tonight’s ceremony.
1870s: Harry Rogers
1880s: Charles Field
1890s: Horace Walker
1900s: Fred Bartholomew
1910s: Joe Bailey
1930s: Jack Palethorpe
1940s: Maurice Edelston
1950s: Ted Drake
1970s: Steve Death
1980s: Roy Tranter
1990s: Jimmy Quinn
2000s: Steve Coppell
2010s: Gylfi Sigurdsson