Since following the Royals, some 22 years, I’ve had some fantastic memories. The club has seen unprecedented success (by our standards!) in the last decade or so. None more than our two-year stint in the top flight, narrowly missing out on European football.
For me, though, the one event that sticks with me more than any other has to be the Play-off Final against Bolton in 1995. Still in my early 20s, I was your typical idealistic Reading fan. I travelled to Wembley with nearly a dozen friends all full of the occasion (and beer, too).
The day started off in high spirits with thousands of RFC fans congregated in our designated Wembley pubs. I think we were in the Green Man. I’m still a little foggy about the morning, but by the time we got to the stadium for kick-off, we were all sobering up.
Thirty thousand plus Royals in full voice couldn’t have asked for a better start. 2-0 up in the first 25 minutes and then the agony of that missed penalty! Poor Archie. I did feel for the bloke.
From then on it was all down hill. Extra time still left us with hope, but the introduction of Fabian de Freatis was the nail in the Reading coffin. Not even a Jimmy Quinn screamer could save us from losing.
Despite the final 4-3 scoreline in the Trotters’ favour, nothing can take that day’s feling of joy away from me.
If you can say you’ve witnessed possibly the greatest Play-off Final ever, it can’t be all bad can it?