On the August 20 2016, Liam Moore joined the Royals in a deal rumoured to be worth around £1million from Leicester City as a young, raw but talented centre-back. Fast-forward nearly three years, 134 appearances, five goals and more than a fair share of ups and downs, and Moore has now cemented his place as a cult hero in Berkshire - and become the new club captain.
After a fantastic first season, in which he played a huge part in the run to a devastating play-off final defeat and finished in the top three for player of the season, Moore was already on his way to being a fans’ favourite.
Interestingly though, it is in the last couple of seasons – in my honest opinion – that the 26 year-old has really come into his own as a top, top centre-back. When the going’s got tough, Moore has been pretty much the only player who’s been willing to stand up and face the music.
As a footballer he is *puts tin hat on* arguably the best centre-back we’ve had since the days of Ivar Ingimarsson and Ibrahima Sonko, but it’s his persona and actions off the pitch that have really cemented his place in the hearts of the Reading fanbase.
Honest media interviews, regular interaction with fans on social media and even partaking in a fan podcast are all examples of how Liam Moore goes above and beyond to try and maintain that bond between players and fans. He’s done that at a point when that bond has never been more broken.
The last couple of seasons have, on the whole, been pretty depressing to be a Reading fan. But now things are looking a little brighter in Berkshire, even with the dark Financial Fair Play cloud hanging over the club, and the new club captain is a big reason for that optimism.
In a time when loyalty in football is becoming harder and harder to find, we have someone in Moore who genuinely cares for our football club. And there are few better feelings as a fan knowing there are players on the pitch who genuinely care. If anyone has any doubts about that by the way, just take a look at his celebrations after the Ipswich Town game, or maybe the fact that he dislocated his shoulder against Wigan Athletic but still finished the match.
I’m going to go through a couple of clichés here, for that I apologise, but Moore never gives anything less than 100% and would run through a brick wall to win three points. Although even I would admit he cannot be completely immune from the disastrous last 24 months the fact that Jaap Stam, Paul Clement, Scott Marshall and now Jose Gomes have always trusted him and continued to play him speaks for itself.
He is a total professional, evidenced by how he dealt with the somewhat turbulent transfer window last summer in which he could’ve deservedly got a move to the Premier League. But he’s also an absolute warrior; some of the blocks and tackles he’s made at the heart of our defence have been absolutely incredible. More importantly for the fans though, he is a leader, a true Royal and is now our new club captain.
He was the obvious choice to fill the vacancy that the departing Paul McShane left, but appointing him signals something more: that *touch wood* Moore is here to stay (barring any utterly ridiculous bids). And as the likes of Tom McIntyre and Gabriel Osho continue to grow into the first team, I’m sure they will be more than happy to have Moore next to them, demanding the very best out of them at all times.
This may seem like a bit of a love letter rather than an opinion piece, but to be honest I don’t really care. Liam Moore is a treasure to our football club and I for one cannot wait to see him captaining us to hopefully some happier times than we’ve been used to recently.