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Hunty’s Column: My Team Of The 1990s

Reading could sure do with some of this talent in their team right now.

A portrait of Michael Gilkes of Reading

The 1990s was a bloody awesome musical decade - from Nivana to Blur, Oasis to Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Take That to B’witched. What great song, what great lyrics!

The footy decade started at Italia ‘90 with Gazza’s tears, then we saw Gazza’s knee injury and Gazza’s ‘dentist chair’ goal. It ended with him scarring the living daylights out of Glen Hoddle when he didn’t pick him for the World Cup in 1998.

Never fear, David Beckham and his cheerful missus became the centre of attention after that. 30 years later, I’m still waiting for Sporty Spice to join me for a Royals game.

But what about little old Reading? That was quite a decade in our history. A very nice Scottish man took us back into what is now the Championship then, halfway to this new thing called the Premier League, the same man legged it to Leicester. He hasn’t been seen since.

Jimmy and Mick took over and got us to a penalty away from glory. We then decided to appoint a taxi driver as manager before a move to the Madejski Stadium! What a great idea! Except we were relegated before we got there...

Mr Burns came and went (rest in peace), and finally some bloke called Pardew took over and the revolution started.

So who makes my team of the decade?

GK: Shaka Hislop

It was a tough choice between Jim Leighton, Simon Sheppard, Shaka Hislop and a few others (very honourable mentions to Steve Mautone and Tommy Wright).

However there is only one Super Shaka and by God what a keeper he was! He wasn’t with us long but he was like a brick wall.

RB: Andy Bernal

At right back, Andy Gurney, haha no just kidding! He was just was not as flash as our Peter Andre look and sound alike Andy Bernal.

CB: Ady Williams and Dariusz Wdowczyk

Shout-outs to Linvoy Primus and Keith McPherson, but Ady Williams and Dariusz Wdowczyk were the perfect combination. Ady the local legend who wore every number back in the day, good luck doing that now.

Darius on the other hand was the first of a number of calming European centre backs to play for the Royals. Ivar and Kaspars followed, but then so did Elroy Kromheer sadly.

LB: Dylan Kerr

At left back: boom boom boom let me hear you say Swales? No sir, Dylan Kerr my Lord!

He had the sexiest left foot - that he kindly left for Nicky Shorey and Ian Harte after him - and is one of the most underrated coaches in the game as well.

CDM: Phil Parkinson

In midfield, and my captain marvel, who else but Phil Parkinson? How we could do with some of his fighting spirit right now!

He never knew when he was beaten - a true leader and legend.

A portrait of Phil Parkinson of Reading

CAM and RW: Simon Osborn and Darren Caskey

Alongside Parky it was hard trying to decide on a creative genius. In fact I couldn’t so I picked both of them - well it is my team! Simon Osborn lines up in the middle with Darren Caskey out on the right.

Both were a real pleasure to watch and game changers on their day. Either could pick a pass out of nowhere and could score some absolute screamers of goals.

LW: Michael Gilkes

On the left who else but ‘run run Gilkesy’? What a player, he scared the living daylights out of defenders on his day. Lightning quick, an eye for goal and a Loyal Royal through and through.

ST: Jimmy Quinn and Trevor Senior

Up front has to be our reserve goalkeeper Jimmy Quinn, he’s here he’s there he’s everywhere! What a finisher and leader of the front line.

Alongside him Paul Brayson? Nah you’re ok! It was a tough shout between Lee Nogan and Stuart Lovell but I’d actually go for Trevor Senior. He was a natural goalscorer and, with him and Jimmy up front there’d be goals aplenty.

So there we go - in those days we had a German, Uwe Hartenberger, now we have our first Iranian signing in Saeid Ezatolahi. Times change so quickly! Welcome to Reading FC, Saeid.

Fingers crossed things start to improve for the team, there’s still a long way to go.