We now know the first 11 names who have been placed into Reading FC's first Hall of Fame. Nominated by the Supporters' Trust At Reading (STAR), the group included the club's very first goalscorer, an England international, a notable broadcasters and of the man who captained the club to the Premier League for the first time.
The event took place within the Princess Suite at the Madejski Stadium and was hosted by former PA man and general all-round lovely bloke Paul Allen, who kicked things off with a nostalgic 'back the boys and make some noise' which went down well with the fans in attendance.
Roger Titford provided the historical notes for each inductee, which began with the first man to score a goal for the football club back in the 1870's, Edward Haygarth. Another Victorian era player in Joey Warburton followed, whose CV included being our first ever International, while Allen Foster was also inducted for his efforts on the pitch in the 1910's which were sadly cut short by serving and being killed during the FIrst World War.
In a more surprising move, long-time BBC broadcaster John Arlott was recognised for help bringing awareness to the club by proudly stating his support for the club throughout a distinguished media career. 1930's hero Tommy Tait was given the nod after a Reading tenure that was partly funded by the old supporters' club and that included a debut hat-trick against Aldershot to all but return that investment.
Moving into the post-war era and the club's all-time leading goalscorer Ronnie Blackman was also honoured just weeks after he sadly passed away, while one of the highlights of the night was seeing Jonny Walker accept his own induction after a Reading career that began way back in 1957. Likewise, Gordon Neate was chosen following 53-years of service as both a player and a groundsman.
Roger Smee was the next to go in, being present to accept his spot which was given in large parts for his efforts in saving the club from folding and merging with Oxford in the early 80's.
The inductions ended with two more familiar names to younger fans, with Ady Williams being swiftly followed into the Hall of Fame by Graeme Murty who seemed genuinely touched to be recognised and back at the Mad Stad.
Big credit has to go to STAR for taking the effort to get the project off the ground and the hope is to induct around 12-15 a year going forward. You'll be able to read much more on each inductee on their website over the next few days.
"The Hall of Fame is a major project for STAR," said Deputy Chairman, Roger Titford, "and over the next few years we expect to get up to 150 people inducted from across the whole history of the club. At first the Hall of Fame will reside on-line at STAR's website but we hope it will get a more ‘physical' presence as the years go by. "
What followed was another fascinating fans forum with Brian McDermott, who was joined by Murts in a surprise 2-for-1 deal. As always, what was said in the room stays in the room but I think I'm fine in saying that Brian is 100% determined to get this club back on track and that anyone who ever doubts his passion should take the time to attend one of the forums in the future. Brian answered each and every question, no matter how awkward for over two hours and again thanks to both STAR and the manager for helping to organise a truly fascinating evening.