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Hunty’s Column: My Team Of The 2000s

Our columnist chooses his favourite XI from a golden period in Reading’s history.

Watford v Reading Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Recently, Hunty picked his favourite Reading team from the 2010s - this time, he’s gone back to the previous decade.

It’s a bit bloody obvious who I’m picking, isn’t it? It’s that team, the 106-point Championship winning one! They got so close to a European place the following season as well. The team pretty much picks itself but, seeing as we currently doing pretty badly, let’s focus on the greatest team in our history.

GK: Marcus Hahnemann

USA USA USA! Holy fishcakes what a solid performer! Our own John Wayne, a model of cigar-smoking consistency.

RB: Graeme Murty

He’s M-U-R-T-Y! He knows he is, he’s sure he is, he’s M-U-R-T-Y. What a leader, and a player who overcame so many dark days of injuries in his early days with the club to lead us to glory. Right winger to right back - not a problem.

CB: Ibrahima Sonko

Sonko is Superman! Holy s**t this bloke could defend, his leap as good as a salmon in the rivers of Scotland.

CB: Ivar Ingimarsson

Ivar the Iceman! He was an absolute bargain signing and turned out to be one of our most reliable performers ever in a Reading shirt. Did he ever let the team down? I don’t think so!

Cool, calm and collected, a bit like Brynaldo, Ivar was so underrated but also the cog in a successful team.

LB: Nicky Shorey

From Leyton Orient reserve to England left back - unbelievable! He was pure quality and gave such balance to the team. Such a sweet left peg as well! Banged in a few at the other end as well!

RM: Glen Little

Blakey Little on the right wing was never the quickest of players, but his brain was always 10 yards ahead of the defender’s in front of him. At times it looked like the ball was glued to his foot!

CM: Steve Sidwell and James Harper

The duo that put the biggest smile on Reading fans’ faces was of course James Harper and Steve Sidwell, our own Cheeky Boys. They complemented each other so well - what an engine of a team, they just clicked and drove us on.

Sadly, their partnership is something that we have struggled to replicate since; Harps with the galloping runs and Sids with the perfect passes. What we would pay for a combination like that these days!

LM: Bobby Convey

Bobby Convey on the left wing proved that size isn’t everything! Despite an eyesight issue he got you on the edge of your seat whenever he played. I hope his health is good these days.

Stephen Hunt, Seol Ki-Hyeon and John Oster also deserve a shout-out.

Strikers: Kevin Doyle and Dave Kitson

It was hard to pick two from four to play up-front for my team! Leroy Lita our then-record signing was absolute quality on his day. He also holds the record for the biggest four-wheel drive ever to be seen at the Madejski Stadium.

A young bloke called Shane Long also arrived on the scene in 2005 and played a big part in our success at this time and Is welcome back any time soon.

But I have to go for the other two! Firstly Kevin Doyle - wow, what a signing! He took his chance through injury and never looked back!

Those first two seasons were just unbelievable Jeff. I’m never sure why he didn’t play at the highest of levels, but I hope he’s enjoying his retirement.

Alongside him I can’t tell you who’s playing - it’s a secret, but he is a footballer. Signed from the lower leagues, he was the focal point of our attack for many seasons and scored so many important goals!

The guy never looked the happiest but had everything you ask for in a striker. A complete player, he had height, strength, aggression, great link-up play and a quality finish.

There you go, hopefully one day we will build a team like this again! In the meantime, fingers crossed for the rest of the season, it’s going to be a long one.