I’m missing football. More specifically, I’m missing match days. The F1 bus from the station. The pre-match meal at a food outlet of choice. The clink of the turnstiles. The music that provides a soundtrack to Saturdays.
There have been a number of songs that have come to be associated with Reading down the years, and we’ve gone through a number of them below. You can also find them all on a carefully collated Spotify playlist right here (right now).
Reading FC Anthem - Kevin Girdler
Long before Lady Sasima Srivikorn wrote ‘They Call Us The Royals’, another homemade song was penned by the club to entertain the masses at Elm Park. This tune by Kevin Girdler, who was the Commercial Director at the time, is incredibly cheesy but also ridiculously catchy.
It is still played at the Madejski Stadium today, and there’s not a song that reminds me of a matchday more. Meanwhile, a quick google search tells you that Girdler is now a Business Development Manager at courier service Speedy Freight. Not sure if they have a company anthem yet.
Ashes - Embrace
When the club held a vote for a new official anthem in 2014, it was this song that came out on top. Played regularly before games during the 2005/06 season, Ashes brings back memories of Steve Coppell’s record-breaking Royals.
The track is the first on Embrace’s fourth studio album Out Of Nothing, and encapsulates how the team surprised everyone and took the Championship by storm. It never fails to make me smile or send a shiver down my spine.
Hard To Beat - Hard-Fi
Another track that takes you back to better days, this song perfectly describes Reading in 05/06 - they were, simply put, very hard to beat. After defeat to Plymouth on the opening day, the Royals went on a 33 game unbeaten run from August to February, winning 25 of those matches. It was a quite extraordinary record.
After each game, this song came over the PA system and you knew that Reading were one step closer to reaching the Premier League.
Sweet Caroline - Neil Diamond
The third and final song to be adopted from the 05/06 season, this cult classic has it’s origins on a squad holiday in Marbella towards the end of that glorious campaign. In 2015, Glen Little recalled:
“We were all in Marbella in an Indian restaurant, seven of us players, we just started singing it, everyone joined in and we actually ended up getting kicked out for being a bit too noisy!
”We’d had a good night, then we thought we’d get something to eat and the restaurant had never seen anything like that I don’t think!
”It just stuck from that holiday, it became our song. The group was me, Nicky Shorey, Steve Sidwell, John Oster, Chris Makin, Graham Stack and John Halls, we used to call ourselves the Magnificent Seven!
“We played Sweet Caroline at the promotion party, we thought it might stick, the players loved things like Hi Ho Silver Lining at Wolves and Delilah at Stoke when they get that going. So we thought we’d make it our song at Reading.”
Of course Reading are far from the only sports team to blare out Diamond’s dulcet tones on a matchday, with baseball side Boston Red Sox the most famous advocates of the song.
Big Bad Wolf - Duck Sauce
From one promotion-winning campaign to another, this song became iconic as Reading stormed to the Championship title in 2012. Vital to the success was January signing Jason Roberts, and shortly after his arrival, ‘the Big Bad Wolf’ was played in the changing room by Jem Karacan for the first time. It instantly stuck, being used before home games, whilst Roberts had earned himself a nickname.
We’ve gone with a clip of the song as part of the promotion celebrations for this one, as the official music video, described by Billboard as “the most disturbing video of 2011”, is bizarre to say the least. Don’t say we didn’t warn you if you choose to search for it.
Black Magic - The Amazons
Reading have chopped and changed their walkout music for a number of years now, but in Black Magic they may have found a mainstay for years to come. What makes this track particularly special is that The Amazons are a Reading band and Royals fans. The four-piece rock band have done a number of features with the club in recent years and also appeared on The Tilehurst End Podcast in 2018.
It helps that the song is pretty damn good as well - as soon as those opening chords ring around the Mad Stad it’s hard not to get in the mood for the game ahead.
We had a host of other suggestions on Twitter, ranging from old walk out music to songs associated with specific players or games. All can be found on the Spotify playlist.
"Right here, right now" always reminds me of match day.— Clare D (@claredoc76) April 12, 2020
Lux Aeterna— Oli Bryant (@OliB_RFC) April 12, 2020
Beautiful day by U2— Churchy (@Churchy1871) April 12, 2020
Don't Stop Believin by Journey— pauline macdonald (@princessmacd) April 12, 2020
I’m A Believer - The Monkees— Helen Bullen (@PAN1F) April 12, 2020
Hoppípolla - Sigur Rós
Black Magic - The Amazons
Terry and June
Robin Friday - @Mirrorpictures1
Just remember New Radicles - Get What You Give being played all the time at the mad stad during its first season 98/99!— George Sharman (@GeorgeSharman5) April 12, 2020
Band Of Gold by Freda Payne. Synonymous with Elm Park in the 1970's.— Si Nicholls (@SiNicholls) April 12, 2020
Ready To Go - Republica, Ashes - Embrace, The Towers Theme, Royals Anthem - Kevin Girdler— Chris Chapman (@Chappers88RFC) April 12, 2020
Dancing Queen by ABBA. Always seemed to be played at Elm Park or Congratulations by Cliff Richard after a home win— Mark (@Mark15207601) April 12, 2020
Remember when they used to play “Let me entertain you”— Joel Shelton (@joel_shelton) April 12, 2020
Remember they used to play Baba ORiley by The Who before the walkouts about 5 or 6 seasons ago. I still think of it whenever I hear that song— Joel Frain (@skoel_rfc) April 12, 2020
Rockin’ all over the world— Philbooth (@Philbooth15) April 12, 2020
Things can only get better.— Trefor James Hooker (@TreforH) April 12, 2020
Marcus Hahnemann was my favourite player, when he was with the club, so "Born in the USA." There was team mate Bobby Convey as well of course.— Joel Newnham (@newjoel) April 12, 2020
A-ha "Hunting high and low", Dido "Hunter" for Noel and Stephen Hunt— Joel Newnham (@newjoel) April 12, 2020
Another one bites the dust!— Maddy (@MadeleineAdams3) April 12, 2020
One I can add to those already mentioned; Kassidy, The Traveller - for it's use in the Sky Sports montage of our Playoff win at Cardiff.— Dan (@diddyc_) April 12, 2020
That Reading FC song
It wouldn’t be a complete list of Reading-related music if we didn’t include this absolute banger from 2015, written as a ‘gift’ to the club by then-owner Lady Sasima Srivikorn. It has it’s critics, but I’ve actually always liked it.
Keep fighting those butterflies.